The Bruins goalie left the crease and got tangled up with defenseman Zdeno Chara early in overtime of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night, allowing the Vancouver Canucks to score just 11 seconds into the extra period and win 3-2.
But Julien wasn't ready to blame the goalie who is a finalist for this season's Vezina Trophy, an award Thomas also won in 2009.
"We are here right now because of his contribution, which has been really good. For us to be sitting here having to answer those kind of questions is ridiculous to me," Julien said after the Bruins returned to Boston on Sunday. "He's won a Vezina Trophy already. He's probably going to win one this year -- in my mind anyway -- for what he's done."
Thomas led the NHL with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage as he bounced back from a hip injury that cost him his starting job last year. He had a career-high nine shutouts in the regular season, and two more in the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But he also likes to come far out of the crease to cut down shooting angles, and in Game 2 he was burned when Alex Burrows pulled him out and went around him, then around the back of the net before scoring on a wraparound in overtime.
"He's got his own style, and I don't think anything is wrong with it," Chara said. "It's been really successful for him. As we all know, he's probably one of the best, if not the best, goaltender in the league. So I don't see why we should change the way we play ... or he should change the way he plays."
Julien wouldn't name names, but he said the fault wasn't all on Thomas or Chara.
"He made some unbelievable saves to keep us in the game," the coach said. "So if we want to focus on that last goal, which I think a lot of other players could have done a better job, I think it's focusing on the wrong thing."
And Thomas isn't going to change his style now.
"I have a pretty good idea of how to play goalie," he said, breaking into a smile. "I'm not going to be taking suggestions or advice at this time. I'm just going to keep playing the way I have."
Public enemy No. 1
There's no doubt who will be the focus of the Boston fans' ire when the series resumes in Boston for Game 3 on Monday night.
As if that weren't bad enough, Burrows had two goals and an assist in Game 2, scoring the game-winner just 11 seconds into overtime for the 3-2 victory that gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
So he shouldn't expect a warm welcome from the Boston fans.
"Once you're on the ice, I don't think you're going to be thinking about what they're shouting about," Canucks forward Henrik Sedin said. "A lot of the people are focusing on the wrong things with him. If they want to focus on that with him, I think we're happy with that."
Burrows had 26 goals and 22 assists in the regular season, with nine goals and eight assists in the playoffs. Canucks coach Alain Vignault said he expects the Boston crowd to be loud, befitting an Original Six city.
And he doesn't worry about Burrows' reaction.
"I expect him to respond the way he's done all throughout the year, and how he did last night," Vignault said. "He's going to focus on what he needs to do on the ice. He's going to play the same way, which is very intense, physical. He's a great hockey player."
For Canucks backup goaltender Cory Schneider, the trip to Boston for Games 3 and 4 is a homecoming. But the 25-year-old rookie, who grew up in nearby Marblehead and played three seasons at Boston College, is not worried about any mixed loyalties from friends and family.
"They have a lot more allegiance to me than the Bruins," Schneider said.
Schneider admitted growing up a Bruins fan, but quickly downplayed No.1 goalie Roberto Luongo's fears he might wear a Boston hat on the Canucks bench.
"I've got a couple Red Sox hats in my arsenal but I'll probably tuck those away for the playoffs," Schneider said. "Of course I was a Bruins fan growing up. They were the closest team and we had tickets so I went to about four or five games a year. I grew up watching those guys, they were my childhood team."
Schneider has some familiarity with the TD Garden. He played in the building for the Beanpot and Hockey East tournaments while at BC.
The temporary gray walls of the media section on ice level at the TD Garden -- think cubicles for a very large office -- have been decorated with giant pictures of players carrying the Stanley Cup.
Among them is Ray Bourque, the former Bruins captain who finally gave up on winning it all in Boston and accepted a trade to the Colorado Avalanche in the 1999-2000 season. Bourque played the last 14 games that season with the Avalanche, then re-signed for one last try the next season and finally won his only NHL championship.
Bourque, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, brought the Cup back to Boston for a rally at City Hall Plaza that was attended by long-suffering Bruins fans waiting since 1972 to see it held up by one of their own.
That was the last time the Cup appeared in Boston, at least publicly.
Hamhuis on trip
Top Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who missed his first game of the playoffs after getting hurt midway through Game 1 while delivering a check, made the trip to Boston with the team.
Hamhuis had six goals and 17 assists and a plus-minus of 29 that was third-best on the team. He had one goal and five assists in Vancouver's first 19 playoff games.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is scheduled to relight the Olympic cauldron in downtown Vancouver two hours before Games 3 and 4. Former Canucks goalie Richard Brodeur, who led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1982, and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson are also planning to take part. ... The Canucks will open Rogers Arena so fans can watch Games 3 and 4.