BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Olympian Tim Thomas, back from Vancouver and back from a slump that sent the reigning Vezina Trophy winner to the bench, made 24 saves in regulation and overtime and added three more in the shootout Thursday night to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Miroslav Satan, who scored Boston’s first goal, had the only goal in the shootout. Thomas stopped Tyler Bozak with a pad save to end it, then started pumping his glove to celebrate Boston’s first win in Boston since the New Year’s Day Winter Classic, and the Bruins’ first win of 2010 in the TD Garden.
Bozak and Viktor Stalberg scored for Toronto, which has lost four straight games. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 29 saves.
Johnny Boychuk also scored for Boston.
Thomas had not won since Jan. 14 and he had not started since Feb. 2, a hiatus that included the last seven Bruins games and the entire Olympic tournament for the silver medal-winning United States. But he stopped several breakaways, holding off former Bruin Phil Kessel at point-blank range three times in regulation and again in the shootout.
Boston led 2-1 before Bozak scored to end a scramble in the middle to tie it in the third period. It stayed that way for the last 13:48 of regulation and 5 minutes of overtime — and the first five shots of the shootout.
Boston’s David Krejci lost control of the puck and didn’t even get off a shot, then Thomas made a glove save on the much-booed Kessel to the delight of the crowd. Giguere deflected Michael Ryder’s shot over the net, then Thomas made a pad save on Jamie Lundmark.
Satan faked a forehand and then put a backhander around Giguere on his right before Thomas stopped Bozak to end it.
Thomas had not started for the Bruins in more than a month, since Feb. 2, with his only action coming as a mopup man for the U.S. Olympic team after it opened a six-goal lead against Finland in the semifinals. He played the last 11:31, allowing one goal, but otherwise backed up tournament MVP Ryan Miller for the silver medal-winning squad.
It’s been much of the same back in Boston for Thomas, as he lost six straight starts before Tuukka Rask took over for him and started seven straight games. Rask was scratched from Thursday night’s game with an unspecified injury, and the team said he is day-to-day.
The Bruins had a goal waved off just 63 seconds into the game when the replay showed that Michael Ryder kicked the puck into the net. But they took the lead midway through the first period when Miroslav Satan’s slap shot from the blue line beat Giguere.
Stalberg tied it for Toronto in with 4:33 left in the first, then Boychuk gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the second.
NOTES: The Bruins honored former coach and current “Hockey Night in Canada” host Don Cherry with a ceremonial puck drop before the game. Cherry stuck around to provide commentary on the TV broadcast. … Bruins F Patrice Bergeron missed his second straight NHL game with a groin injury. He hurt himself during the Olympics, playing for the gold medal-winning Team Canada. … Boston called up G Matt Dalton from Reading of the ECHL on an emergency basis. … D Dennis Seidenberg, who was acquired from Florida at Wednesday’s trading deadline, made his debut for the Bruins. … Luca Caputi, acquired at the trading deadline from Pittsburgh, had an assist in his Toronto debut.