Only five players from Cup-losing teams had won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, four of them goalies. Even if the Bruins fall to the Canucks in Game 7, Boston goalie Tim Thomas absolutely deserves to win the 2011 Conn Smythe.
Thomas, the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner who just one year ago was wrestling with a hip injury and backing up Tuukka Rask in the playoffs, has been almost as dominant as he was during the regular season, when he set an NHL record with a save percentage of .938. Through Monday his 761 saves had tied the alltime postseason record, set by Vancouver's Kirk McLean in 1994. In the final series alone Thomas allowed only eight goals in six games, the fewest since the Sabres' Dominik Hasek allowed seven in five in 2002. In the finals Thomas had a 1.34 goals-against average and .962 save percentage.
Thomas's postseason numbers are in line with those of the 14 playoff most valuable player awards that have gone to goaltenders—in that company, his 2011 postseason ranks seventh in goals-against average and second in save percentage (a statistic the NHL has been keeping in the playoffs since 1984), trailing only the Ducks' Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2003, who won the trophy without winning the Stanley Cup. Here is how Thomas's postseason performance stacks up with the Conn Smythe--winning goalies who came up short of hockey's ultimate prize.
2011: TIM THOMAS,
(2.06 GAA, .937 save percentage, three shutouts)
2003: JEAN-SEBASTIEN GIGUERE,
(1.62 GAA, .945 save percentage, five shutouts)
1987: RON HEXTALL,
(2.77 GAA, .908 save percentage, two shutouts)
1968: GLENN HALL,
St. Louis Blues
(2.43 GAA, one shutout)
1966: ROGER CROZIER,
Detroit Red Wings
(2.34 GAA, one shutout)