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Thomas, Panthers head to Boston
(SportsNetwork.com) - Tim Thomas was formally on the other side of Boston's dominance over the Florida Panthers. Now the veteran netminder will try to get his new team a victory over his former Bruins mates in Tuesday night's clash at TD Bank Garden.
Thomas is expected to face the Bruins for just the second time in his career. He enjoyed a ton of success in Boston over seven seasons, twice winning the Vezina Trophy while also capturing a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe award in 2011.
The 39-year-old sat out last season's lockout-shortened campaign before joining the Panthers as a free agent ahead of this season. He is 14-14-3 with a 2.65 goals against average in 32 starts with Florida, one of those coming at home versus the Bruins on Oct. 17.
Thomas allowed three goals on 40 shots in a 3-2 setback, then missed a trip to Boston on Nov. 7 due to injury. The Panthers lost 4-1 and have dropped five straight and 13 of their previous 16 versus the Bruins.
Florida has lost four in a row and eight of its last 11 in Boston.
Thomas, who received a video tribute during the Panthers' last trip to Boston, made 26 saves through overtime and stopped all three skaters he faced in the shootout of Sunday's 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Florida won despite twice trailing by two goals in the third period.
Jesse Winchester, Drew Shore and Brad Boyes tallied in the third stanza for the Panthers, who have won three of their last four contests. All three of those wins have come on the road, including Sunday's opener of a four-game road trip.
Sean Bergenheim also lit the lamp in the victory.
"We certainly didn't do everything very well so we certainly have to clean up those areas, but we're finding ways to win," Florida head coach Peter Horachek said.
Panthers rookie Aleksander Barkov missed his second game in a row with a lower-body injury and did not make the trip to Boston.
The Bruins await the Panthers set to start a four-game homestand and are 19-5-2 as the hosting team this season. They returned home following a 6-3 road win over the New York Islanders on Monday night.
Brad Marchand continued his surge with a goal and three assists, while Patrice Bergeron scored and had two helpers. The duo helped Boston win its third straight and move to 5-1-1 in its last seven.
Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson, Zdeno Chara and Carl Soderberg added goals to aid a 34-save performance from backup Chad Johnson.
"We got contributions from every line. That's how we win games and what makes us so tough to play against," said Marchand, who has seven goals and five assists over a six-game point streak.
Bergeron (4 goals, 6 assists) and Smith (2g, 5a) are also riding six-game point streaks, while Chara's goal was the 500th point of his NHL career.
The Bruins moved two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division and will try to win four in a row for the first time since Dec. 7-12.
Tuukka Rask should start opposite former teammate Thomas and is 9-1-0 with a 0.99 GAA and three shutouts in 10 career games versus the Panthers. He won both previous encounters this season, giving up three goals on 53 shots.
01/28 12:09:13 ET