Romig's taking it on the chin in the Three Stars comments for not making Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas one of last night's top three. His 25-save effort in a 2-0 win (LUCIC!) over the New Jersey Devils came on a night that featured five shutouts around the NHL; maybe it was lost in that shuffle.
But one moment that deserves its moment of glory was this Thomas robbery of Patrik Elias on a two-on-one in a scoreless game. One of the best odd-man rush saves in recent memory:
Hub Hockey believes we've just witnessed the save of the year thus far. Fact is that it may not even be the best stick-save of the year; depending on if you count Carey Price's preseason stunner as part of the "year," and if you believe the Montreal Canadiens goalie did in fact prevent a goal against the Detroit Red Wings.
Thomas was strong behind a very, very solid game of positional defense by Claude Julien's Bruins. If it was a chess match between two good teams, then it was like watching speed chess -- the game at The Rock had playoff intensity.
He's now second in the NHL in GAA (2.04), save percentage (.935) and is 14-3-3 on the season. But the number to keep watching is the first column: games played. Thomas has appeared in 20 games; 18 other goalies have played that or more. Manny Fernandez, his able backup, has appeared in 15 games.
A quick glance through recent Vezina Trophy history suggests 67 games as the lowest total for any winner. (Dominik Hasek won with 64 in 1998-99 ... but that was Hasek.) Voters like a workhorse, and right now goalies like Niklas Backstrom, Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist are on pace for a much higher games-played total than Thomas.
There are other considerations for Thomas's Vezina candidacy; has Marty Brodeur finally made the world safe for goalies that play on "positional defensive" teams, for example?
But at the very least, Thomas gave himself one hell of a clip in his "For Your Consideration" highlight reel to the voters.