2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Goalie Throwdown: Boston Bruins Tim Thomas vs. Vancouver Canucks Robert Luongo

With Wednesday’s game over with the 1-0 last minute goal by Vancouver Canucks Raffi Torres, the Boston Bruins have their work cut out for them.  Although both offenses and defenses of both teams are solid in their own right, the Vancouver Canucks offense, at least in game 1, seemed more organized and more aggressive.  They were taking solid shots for the most part and not pulling the trigger too quickly.  Both the Bruins Tim Thomas and the Canucks Roberto Luongo were solid that night, but Thomas was constantly attacked and one simply slipped past him.

Despite all this, this is a battle of two magnificent goalies in the Stanley Cup Finals, and they are both comparable in many ways.  However, one has to have the decided edge.

Physical Statistics

Surprisingly, both of these goalies have similar physical statistics.  Boston Bruins Tim Thomas weighs in at 208 lbs. and has the height of 5’11”.   Vancouver Canucks Roberto Luongo weighs in at 208 lbs. and has the height of 6’3″.  Although it would appear that Luongo has the decided advantage, Thomas is slightly faster for their comparable size, although both are spasmic at times.  The edge goes to Tim Thomas and the Bruins in this matchup.

Career Statistics

The Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas originally started in 2002-2003 season but didn’t come into play as a regular starter until the 2005-2006 season.  Tim Thomas has been with the Boston Bruins for seven seasons to date.  His best season has actually been this season with a 2.00 GAA and a .938 save percentage, and he has steadily improved since 2002, with his GAA and save percentage declining his tenure as a Boston Bruin goalie. Overall, Tim Thomas has been impressive during his career.  He currently has career averages of 2.50 GAA and .922 save percentage.

On the other hand, Roberto Luongo has been in the league for eleven seasons, shared with the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and now the Vancouver Canucks. Like Tim Thomas, his best season has been the present season.  This season he’s had a 2.11 GAA and .928 save percentage.  And like Tim Thomas, he’s improved for his eleven seasons in the league. Presently, Luongo has career averages of 2.53 GAA and .919 save percentage.

Between the two, Tim Thomas has been the slightly more consistent and efficient goalie than Roberto Luongo over the span of their careers.  He’s improved more than Luongo as well for a shorter amount of time in the league.  The substantive edge goes to Tim Thomas and the Bruins again.

2010-2011 Regular Season Statistics

Although it was reiterated in the previous section, it is something to reiterate again.  Bruins Tim Thomas has current regular season statistics of 2.00 GAA and .938 save percentage.  Meanwhile, Canucks Roberto Luongo has a 2.11 GAA and .928 save percentage.  Again, the edge goes to Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins although slight.

2010-2011 Post-Season Statistics

Comparing their post-seasons so far, both have played 19 games to date.  Tim Thomas has presently 2.23 GAA and .931 save percentage into the postseason; meanwhile, Roberto Luongo has a 2.17 GAA and .927 save percentage.  Luongo has a slight edge so far, but nearly both have had comparable statistics.

The Edge

After an examination of the numbers, the huge edge leans toward Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins.  And for the winner, one of Tim Thomas’ saves against the New York Islanders on their power play:

However, the Boston Bruins defense has to stay on their toes throughout all three periods of game 2 tomorrow and each following game of the Stanley Cup finals as Raffi Torres showed with last minute score to win the game for the Vancouver Canucks.  They have the physicality to win the series, but for right now, they appear to lack the team coordination.

My Two-Cents

With neither team pulling their goalies nor rotating them like the Philadelphia Flyers did, both the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks have demonstrated more consistency overall.   Since the starting goalies or their backups wondering whether they’ll actually remain through the entire game, the Canucks and the Bruins have freed their offenses as well since they players themselves won’t feel the need to “protect” their goalie.  To me, it is also somewhat of a welcome sight as the Detroit Red Wings couldn’t progress further.  They are the New England Patriots of the NHL.  But it appears that their old tricks and older players are catching up to them, as they lack the speed and handle to dominate teams as easily as they did.