One Hot Goalie
Tim Thomas is so hot right now, the Boston Bruins don't need to score much to win.
Against Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, they might not be able to score much.
Thomas looks to continue his shutout streak, help the Bruins complete a perfect three-game road trip and win their fourth straight overall Thursday night when they meet Kiprusoff and a surging Flames club seeking its fifth consecutive win.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Calgary -140 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Calgary -140 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
Boston coach Claude Julien had been alternating between Thomas and Manny Fernandez in goal early this season, but ended that rotation after Thomas opened this trip Monday night by stopping 27 shots in a 1-0 victory over Edmonton. Thomas validated that decision Tuesday with an even more impressive effort, making 31 saves in Vancouver as the Bruins (5-2-3) earned another 1-0 win.
"As soon as the game was over Monday, I knew who I was going with," Julien said. "Not only did he get a shutout, but he played well. When I say something I keep my word, and my word is, if somebody is going to get hot, he's going to get the chance to take the ball and run with it."
Thomas has notched consecutive shutouts for the first time in his career as Boston has won three consecutive games by one-goal margins, including 5-4 over Atlanta at home on Saturday with Fernandez in net. Against the Canucks, Thomas made nine of his saves in the third period to make Michael Ryder's early goal stand up.
"The composure we kept in the third was awesome," Thomas said. "Hopefully it gives us confidence that in tight games we can come out with the win, whether it's 4-3 or 1-0."
Against Kiprusoff and the Flames (5-3-1), it could be 1-0 again. Kiprusoff has limited opponents to five goals during Calgary's four-game winning streak, and made 22 saves in Tuesday's 3-0 victory over Colorado. It was the first shutout of the season for Kiprusoff, the 27th of his career and his 150th NHL win.
As well as he played, Kiprusoff faced only two shots in the final period.
"Two shots, that's unbelievable in a close game like that," he said. "We got the lead there and we were able to shut them down. Those are huge points for us."
Kiprusoff recorded a shutout the last time the Bruins visited Calgary, stopping 26 shots in a 3-0 win Dec. 17, 2005. He lost 3-2 at Boston on Oct. 19, 2006 - the teams' most recent meeting.
The Bruins are seeking their first victory at Calgary in more than a decade. They are 0-3-0 with one tie in four visits to Pengrowth Saddledome since a 3-0 win on Oct. 18, 1997.
Though the Flames won Tuesday's game by a comfortable margin, it was scoreless until Curtis Glencross found the back of the net at 8:22 of the third period. It was the first goal of the season for the left wing, who signed with Calgary in July after scoring 15 goals while splitting 2007-08 between Columbus and Edmonton.
"It's fun to get that first one," Glencross said. "I've had a couple chances this year so far but haven't had the luck. It's nice to get that one and hopefully they'll come in bunches now."