All the latest from the blue paint…
Luongo returns to Boston
Roberto Luongo will make his first start at TD Garden since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final when Vancouver takes on the Bruins tonight.
Eddie Lack has been in goal for Vancouver’s last two games — a 4-3 loss to Winnipeg and Monday’s 2-0 defeat in Detroit — so Luongo should be well-rested and ready to exorcise the demons that haunted him in Boston three years ago, when he allowed 15 goals over three games and got hooked twice.
The veteran netminder has played pretty well in January, going 3-4-0 with a 2.55 GAA and .921 save percentage. He’ll be up against Tuukka Rask tonight.
Lundqvist vs. Varlamov at Madison Square
Great goaltending matchup in New York as Henrik Lundqvist gets the start for the Rangers, going up against Avs No. 1 Semyon Varlamov.
Lundqvist, who won the ’12 Vezina and was a finalist last year, will face one of the leading candidates for this year’s award. Varlamov has been nothing short of outstanding all year long, ranking among the league leaders in wins (28), GAA (2.45) and save percentage (.925).
Jets at Hurricanes: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Anton Khudobin
Flames at Canadiens: Reto Berra vs. Carey Price
Maple Leafs at Panthers: Jonathan Bernier vs. Tim Thomas
Islanders at Capitals: Evgeni Nabokov vs. Michal Neuvirth
Senators at Blues: Robin Lehner vs. Jaroslav Halak
Lightning at Wild: Ben Bishop vs. Darcy Kuemper
Stars at Coyotes: Kari Lehtonen vs. Mike Smith
All signs point to Tim Thomas extending his NHL comeback beyond this season — the question now is, where?
Sounds like Florida, the team that gave him his comeback shot, is in the mix.
“I’m certainly willing to entertain the idea,” Thomas said about returning to the Panthers next season, per the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I haven’t talked to the club about that.”
Thomas, 39, should be a pretty interesting figure over the next few weeks. His name will likely pop up as the Mar. 5 trade deadline draws near — a pending UFA, Thomas could be a nice pickup for any team looking to solidify its goaltending depth for the playoffs.
While Panthers GM Dale Tallon has no intention of trading his No. 1 goalie, he did admit it would be “a different story” if Thomas asked for a trade.
And that’s where things could get interesting.
Thomas is admittedly disappointed with Florida’s on-ice results this season. He acknowledged it’s a young team going through some growing pains, and he might not be willing to stick around for the learning process.
“I was hoping by this time to be seeing more team success,” he explained. That’s been a little bit difficult. Having said that, it’s a process. I knew coming into it where the team was last year.
“I bought into this process, and what we’re trying to do is turn it around.”
Thomas carries a $2.5 million cap hit with a no-movement clause, so he can essentially decide his fate for this season.
According to reports, Tim Thomas won’t face a disciplinary hearing for his high-stick on Boston’s Carl Soderberg in Tuesday night’s 6-2 loss, nor will Buffalo’s Mike Weber for an elbow on Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom.
CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty passes along news of the Thomas decision, which came shortly after the former B’s goalie knocked Soderberg in the head in the waning moments of a blowout loss:
Thomas was given a two-minute minor for the infraction.
As for Weber — who also evaded a hearing, according to the Washington Post — he came under fire after catching Backstrom with a high hit late in regulation of Washington’s 5-4 OT win:
Weber wasn’t penalized on the play, but Backstrom addressed the hit following the game.
“I was going for a change, that’s the only thing I know,” he said, per The Post. “You saw the hit yourself, make your own judgment if it belongs in this league or not.”
Tim Thomas drew a two-minute penalty for hi-sticking Carl Soderberg in the waning moments of the Boston Bruins’ 6-2 win against the Florida Panthers.
Judge for yourself if that outburst warrants supplemental discipline:
Here’s an admittedly blurry screen cap of the incident:
Thomas, 39, might be known for his political comments and jokes, yet he can also be pretty nasty to opposing players who get in his way. Even so, he hasn’t been suspended for such fiery actions; his only suspension came for choosing not to play for the Bruins in 2012-13.
We’ll see if that changes after this run-in, though.
Tuesday’s 6-2 Boston Bruins win inspired some snark/sarcasm from Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas, but his former teammates seemed fixated on Shawn Thornton’s backhand goal:
Maybe it was his way of being modest, but Milan Lucic raved about the goal the most:
On the other hand, Tuukka Rask decided not to give Thornton a ton of praise, but he couldn’t fight the urge to provide a one-liner.
“I don’t know if I want to pump his tires too much,” Rask said.
From the look of things, the postgame interviews might have been as exciting (or more enthralling) than Boston’s blowout of Florida itself.
That being said, was it a better watch than the State of the Union?