BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas feels the trick to winning Monday’s do-or-die Game Six in the NHL’s Stanley Cup finals is to focus on what he can control and have some fun like a kid.
The Bruins, trailing the series 3-2, must beat the Canucks in Boston’s TD Garden to force the championship to a decisive seventh game, which would be played in Vancouver on Wednesday.
Thomas’s performance has been strong despite Vancouver’s series lead and he said he cannot change the way he approaches the game despite the must-win circumstance Boston faces.
“You try to get the same focus that you had as a kid when you were out playing on the pond, and you’re just enjoying the game,” the 37-year-old told reporters in Boston on Sunday after the team’s practice skate.
“If you approach it like that it can be really fun,” said Thomas, a favorite to win this season’s Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender with one of the more acrobatic styles in the league.
Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo has come under fire from the Boston media for saying his more conservative style would have helped him make the save that Thomas missed in the Bruin’s 1-0 loss in Game Five.
“Listen, I know we’re in the Stanley Cup Final and everything is under the microscope and going to get blown out of proportion,” Luongo said, adding that reporters ignored the positive comments he made about Thomas.
Vancouver, on the brink of their first NHL championship, will try to clinch the series in a Boston arena where they were trounced in Games Three and Four by a combined 12-1 score.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said they know what they have to work on to get their first road win of the series.
“(In the) two games in Boston, the second periods were a problem. We played real well in the first two periods, and for whatever reason, the game got away from us in the second,” Vigneault told reporters.
“We need to make every shift in every period count and that’s what we’re going to try to do tomorrow.”
Writing by Allan Dowd in Vancouver, Editing Frank Pingue