Yes, Tim Thomas is playing for Florida tonight

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Normally, a Florida Panthers – Tampa Bay Lightning preseason game is only interesting if there are injuries or humiliating crowds. Thursday’s exhibition is a big exception, however, as Tim Thomas will make his Panthers debut tonight.

Thomas, 39, hasn’t experienced NHL competition since the Boston Bruins were eliminated by the Washington Capitals 2-1 in OT of Game 7 of a first-round series on April 25, 2012.

Being that this is a preseason contest, there’s no telling if Thomas will get a full 60 minutes of reps. It’s common for goalies to trade off periods. Of course, considering his rust and how close the regular season is, they might want to throw the veteran out for a full contest.

The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that the initial plan is for Thomas to play for the first two periods before giving way to Jacob Markstrom, but we shall see.

Either way, PHT will be keeping tabs on his night.