Bruins’ Thomas Becomes 195th Former ECHL Player In National Hockey League

Tim Thomas made 31 saves in his National Hockey League debut on Saturday leading Boston to a 4-3 win at Edmonton, and becoming the 195th former East Coast Hockey League player to advance to the NHL. Thomas was 4-1-1 with a 2.18 goals against average and a .944 save percentage in six games with Birmingham in 1997-98.

“That last minute and 11 seconds was pretty long,” said Thomas, who held Edmonton scoreless for the first 39 minutes. “I try not to know how much time is left in the game because it shouldn’t matter, but I heard the (public address) announcement and knew it was going to be a nail-biter.”

The Bruins were able to fend off Edmonton’s power play and make a winner of Thomas, who was recalled Thursday from Providence of the American Hockey League after John Grahame went down with a shoulder injury. A 1994 draft pick of Quebec, the 28-year-old Thomas signed with Boston as a free agent after spending last season in Finland.

“Yeah, I dreamed about this, even last summer,” Thomas said. “I think everyone thinks about getting a chance to play in this league and you just wish there was some way to make it happen. And tonight, it did. It feels great. How could it have gone any better? I guess I could have got a shutout.”