Tonight we’ll witness something we couldn’t have really imagined seeing less than two years ago. Tim Thomas will be in another National Hockey League uniform — the Florida Panthers’ — facing off against the Bruins.

Milan Lucic said this won’t be like any other game.
“It will be (strange)” Lucic said after the Bruins practice at the BB & T Center. “All those years shooting on him in practice and whatnot I think it will be fun to finally get to shoot on him in a game. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it as well. I’m sure he’s happy to be back in the NHL playing and I’m sure he’s found a new home in here in Florida.”

Tuukka Rask was his understudy for much of the previous three years before Thomas forced the Bruins into trading him by not reporting to training camp and opting instead for a one-year sabbatical last season.

Thomas’ departure opened the door for Rask to finally blossom. Rask didn’t expect to be facing his old friend but that’s the business.
Said Rask: “I never thought that we’d be playing against each other but I’m glad he’s making his comeback and proving people wrong again. I hope he does well.”

Rask said all he cares about is winning games right now and playing against Thomas is not weighing very heavily on his mind. But he did offer to spice things up.

“Maybe we’ll fight or something. We’ll see” Rask quipped.
Coach Claude Julien sounded as though he’d like to get this reunion over with. At 3-2 both losses coming in the past three games he has other things with which to concern himself.

Said Julien: “When you lose a guy who is well respected and liked in the dressing room you’ve got to turn the page and we’ve got to do the same thing here with Timmy. . . . We’ve got to put the past aside for this game and look forward to the job that we came here for and that’s win a hockey game.”

After starting Florida’s first three games Thomas missed the last four with a groin injury suffered Oct. 8 in Philadelphia. But he’s been practicing and yesterday afternoon the Panthers tweeted that he will start tonight. At the Panthers practice facility in Coral Springs Thomas declined to speak to reporters through a team spokesman saying he’d speak after the game.