To go from goat to hero only takes two goals.
Tim Thomas found that out in the Boston Bruins' 2-1 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass., on Friday.
"It certainly feels good," said Bruins coach Claude Julien when asked if winning in overtime was hockey's version of hitting a walk-off home run. "I think the way the game finished was obviously encouraging for a team. For a while there, I didn't know if they were ever going to find out how these fans were going to react if we scored a goal."
The Bruins and Flyers were both held scoreless heading into the second period before the Flyers started making noise in the Bruins' end. With the puck close to the blueline, Flyer Scott Hartnell skated toward the net and made contact with Thomas, sending him to the ground. Thomas got back up and gave Hartnell a hearty shove, but at the same time allowed a Dan Syvret goal slip past him.
With less than three minutes left in the third, and the Bruins still down 1-0, Thomas was obviously the Bruins goat if the game were to end then. But Mark Rechhi changed Thomas' fortune.
Rechhi's goal at 17:42 tied the game up and fired up the Fenway faithful. Once Rechhi's shot hit the back of the net, the Bruins were in control.
The game was sent to overtime, but it didn't stay tied for long. Action in front of the net allowed Marco Sturm to find the twine and send the Bruins fans home with a 2-1 victory. Sturm's goal came just 1:57 into the extra period.
"When (Patrice Bergeron) hit the puck I saw like two guys go at him a little bit and that's why I just tried to go to the net," Sturm said of his game-winner. "He made a nice play for a tip-in."
In less than two minutes, Bergeron and Sturm helped turn Thomas, who saved 24 shots, from goat to a key part of the Bruins' victory.
"You could feel the energy when we tied it up with two minutes left," Thomas said. "At that point I was very grateful to tie the game, because I mean, the goal was basically because I lost my cool and wasn't following the puck."
With the Green Monster as the Winter Classic's backdrop, Julien said there was certainly something great about Friday's win.
"There was no doubt," he said, "there was something special about this park that kept you in awe."