But it was the Bruins netminder who came up with the biggest save of the game to help Boston post its first win of the season, a 4-1 triumph over Tampa Bay in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference final.
With the Bruins clinging to a 2-1 lead and the Lightning on a power play early in the third period, Thomas robbed Tampa winger Teddy Purcell with an acrobatic save on a shot from the slot.
"I don't know if it was a 3-on-2 or a 3-on-3 situation, I'm not sure, but the guy passed it through the slot and whoever was in the slot there did a good job of just barely tipping it over to Purcell," Thomas said. "So I was actually originally just on the first pass, and I had to scramble to get over to the second pass which is why I sort of made the save while I was falling down."
That save helped swing the momentum fully onto the Bruins side, with David Krejci scoring a key insurance goal just over a minute later, extending the lead to 3-1 on a rebound of a Milan Lucic shot at 3:07 of the third.
"Timmy made a lot of big saves at the right time," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "He seems to be great at doing that. He always seems to give us an opportunity to win. When he comes up with saves like that it builds a lot of momentum and really gives us a lot of confidence that we can go out and repay him and get him a couple goals and get the lead. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have won that game."
Thomas wasn't exactly bad in Thursday's season-opening 2-1 loss to the Flyers, but Saturday's effort was a little more reminiscent of last year's record-setting campaign.
"To me, Timmy looked more like the Timmy we know," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "He looked calm, and he looked comfortable in net, and he made things look pretty easy. Even on the big saves, he was challenging well. To me, that's as close to last year as I've seen Timmy. He certainly played a solid game for us."
Thomas made several memorable saves, including a big stop early on a point-blank one-timer by Steven Stamkos. But it was the highlight-reel robbery of Purcell that really set the tone for this victory.
"I think any goaltender in those key situations that makes those kinds of saves is certainly going to give your team a boost, and Tim has done that for us on numerous occasions throughout his time here," Julien said. "I'm not saying we're used to it, but we like it."
Thomas was happier with his performance in this game than he was after Thursday's defeat. He even found a reason to be happy about the only goal he surrendered, which was the 300th career tally of his close friend and former University of Vermont teammate Martin St. Louis.
"Really? Was it?" Thomas said when informed of the milestone. "I'm glad. I'm actually happy now because I wasn't happy when he scored. But I'm sure he'll remember that one. He didn't say a word to me, at least that I heard. I'm kind of in my own world sometimes. But he doesn't talk a lot, and that's the way we both compete. We don't do a lot of talking. We let our play do the talking."
Thomas' play came across loud and clear on Saturday.
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