(SportsNetwork.com) - Tuukka Rask had a first-hand look at how important Tim Thomas was to the Boston Bruins franchise. Rask and the Bruins will face their former teammate on Thursday night, when Thomas is expected to start for the Florida Panthers against visiting Boston. Thomas, a former ninth-round pick by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 draft, signed as a free agent with the Bruins in 2002 and made his NHL debut with the club that season, appearing in four games. He eventually became the No. 1 goaltender with the Bruins and went 196-121-45 in 378 regular-season games with the club. The 39-year-old also posted a postseason record of 29-21 in 50 games with the Bruins, logging a 2.07 goals against average and .933 save percentage. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011 after helping lead Boston to its first Stanley Cup title since 1972. Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, played one more season with the Bruins before sitting out the lockout-shortened campaign. He became a free agent this past offseason and appeared in training camp with the Panthers on a professional tryout before signing a one-year deal just before the start of the season. Thomas has made three appearances with the Panthers, allowing nine goals on 60 shots faced. However, he has not played since exiting last Tuesdays game versus Philadelphia early with a groin injury. He is expected to play tonight, per Floridas official twitter account. "All those years shooting on him in practice and what not, I think itll be fun to finally shoot on him in a game and Im sure hes looking forward to it as well," said Bostons Milan Lucic. "Im sure hes happy to be back in the NHL playing and hes found a new home here in Florida." Thomas year off allowed Rask to grab hold of Bostons starting goaltender job after he spent the majority of his career backing up the former since being acquired from Toronto on June 24, 2006. Rask went 19-10-5 with a 9.29 GAA in 36 games last season, helping the Bruins get to the Stanley Cup Finals. "I never thought that we would play against each other. But Im glad that he made his comeback and proved people wrong again, and I hope he does well," said the 26-year-old Rask, who is 7-1-0 with a 0.86 GAA, .972 save percentage and three shutouts lifetime versus the Panthers. Boston will play three straight on the road after opening the season with four of five at home and lost for the second time in its past three games with Mondays 3-2 setback to Detroit. Loui Eriksson and Milan Lucic tallied for the Bruins, while Rask made 24 saves. "Were really struggling with our finish right now. The chances are there but goals are not coming easy," noted Bruins head coach Claude Julien. The Panthers, meanwhile, begin a six-game homestand and have lost five of seven to begin the season. They were last in action on Tuesday, a 4-3 setback to Nashville. Jonathan Huberdeau, Marcel Goc and Matt Gilroy netted goals in the loss, while Jacob Markstrom surrendered all four goals on 30 shots. "We did some good things tonight with our forecheck and creating turnovers," said Huberdeau. "We can look to build on that for our next game and get some of our mistakes straightened out." The Bruins won all three of their meetings with the Panthers a season ago, outscoring them 11-2. They have won nine of the last 11 encounters overall and six of the past seven in Florida. Mike Bercovici College Jersey . The judge sternly instructed the prosecutor to restrain himself and he apologized -- then went right back to trying to pick holes in the testimony of the double-amputee runner. 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Arizona State Jerseys From China . -- Sami Salo joked that as the shootout went on and on, one thing went through his mind: "Youve got to tie up your skates.Baseball season is just under two weeks old… Are you tired yet? For a sport which can cite the speed of the game as one of its major detractors, the 2014 season has already seen developments come to light to call into question whether the game needs to be sped up. The advent of instant replay on select plays, allowing managers to challenge contentious calls, has added yet another stall tactic to the great summer spectacle. Naturally, two weeks in, a pattern has emerged. Many organizations have employed or utilized a “video coach” whose job it is to keep an eye on a monitor when close plays come about and to double-check whether the right call was made. In order to give managers better odds of winning challenges, a trend has now emerged where skippers saunter out to the umpire to discuss the call while awaiting a signal from the bench to decide whether or not the play is “challenge-worthy”. Sometimes it is not and the game proceeds. Sometimes it is and more time is spent actually reviewing the play in question. So, whats the solution? Well, according to a report from ESPNs Buster Olney earlier this week, one MLB executive believes seven-inning games would help get the games done in roughly two-and-a-half hours. But is that really the bbest way to speed up the game? Solutions have been pitched before, however.dddddddddddd In 2007, the MLBs official rules were altered to reduce the maximum amount of time a pitcher was allowed between pitches without runners on base. Under these rules, a pitcher was allowed no more than 12 seconds between pitches (down from 20) with the bases empty. The penalty for exceeding that time limit is an extra ball added to the batters count. Still, games clock in regularly at north of three hours. So, is the seven-inning game a viable solution for Major League Baseball? Changes have been made in the past to alter the quality of the game both on- and off the field including the advent of the live-ball era, the lowering and raising of the pitchers mound and – most notably – the restructuring of the Leagues substance abuse policy in the wake of the “Steroid era”. Speaking of which: Wouldnt a switch to seven innings be a clever way to asterisk the records that Major League Baseball is hesitant to recognize? “Sure, Barry Bonds is the all-time home run king… but that was during the nine-inning era.” What do you say? Would you be in favour of just heading home at the seventh-inning stretch? As always, its Your! Call. 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