x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Thomas nets Bruins a date with Canucks in finals

The Boston Bruins are back in the NHL's Stanley Cup finals thanks to the hot goaltending of Tim Thomas.

The Boston Bruins are in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 21 years. It has been even longer - 39 years - since they won the NHL championship.

"It's been a long time for Boston," said Tim Thomas, the Bruins' 37-year-old goalkeeper. "Also a long journey for me to get here. Can't be too happy too long, though, unless you are the last man standing."

The finals begin Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks, who had the best record in the NHL, scored the most goals and allowed the fewest.

Boston advanced Friday night with a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the East finals behind Thomas' second shutout of the series and Nathan Horton's goal with 7:33 left to play.

"That was the highest level of concentration I have experienced," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. Boston won their most recent championship in 1972 and had not reached the finals since 1990.

But now they have a hot goalie in Thomas, who led the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage

"I think a lot of people thought I was over the hill," Thomas said. "I knew it wasn't true. I put in a lot of work over the summer and I've had an unbelievable year."