When Lundqvist looks down the other end of the ice tonight, it will be Tuukka Rask, not Thomas, between the pipes for Boston.
Lundqvist, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, admitted he was stunned to learn that Thomas was sitting out the 2012-2013 season.
“I was surprised,” Lundqvist said. “I see a lot of myself in him when I watched him play and the way he competes. He definitely had a different style when it comes to stopping the puck, but he got the job done and it was always fun to play against him. I was a little surprised to see him not play because he can still play so well at this level.”
In 27 career games against the Bruins, Lundqvist is 19-6-2 with a 1.53 goals-against average and six shutouts. Thomas has a career 5-9-3 record with a 2.69 GAA and one shutout against the Rangers.
“He makes this unbelievable saves and it’s almost every game,” Lundqvist said. “But what stands out is just the way he competes. My game is all about competing as well, so even though we have different styles, I still see a lot of myself in his game.”
Saturday night won’t be the first time Lundqvist and Rask have played at opposite ends of the ice. But it will be with Rask as the Bruins’ No. 1 goaltender.
“What I’ve see is he’s a great goalie. He always plays well,” Lundqvist said. “It’s always a different mindset when you’re the starter, there’s more pressure, more expectations. It’ll come down to if he handles it the right way, but he definitely has the game to back it up.”
Rask has a 2-3-1 record with a 1.83 GAA in six career games against the Rangers.
“He’s a quick goalie with great side to side. He’s very flexible and he uses his size pretty good,” said Lundqvist.
After Saturday’s morning skate, Rask said he’s ready for puck drop and it doesn’t matter who’s in net at the other end of the ice.
“Not really,” Rask said. “He’s a great goalie and he won the Vezina last year. He’s been there for many years and I’ve played against him and they’ve always been tight games. It’s going to be a good battle and I really appreciate him as a goalie.”