Video: Former teammates, now rivals

BOSTON -- Like they did with Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, people always doubted that Tampa Bay Lightning’s Martin St. Louis could play at the NHL level.

Thomas’ style was too chaotic and St. Louis was too small for professional hockey.

The two were teammates at the University of Vermont for four seasons, beginning in 1993. Now they’re playing against each other in the Eastern Conference finals.

“Early on our careers kind of just got labeled as people that would never be able to do it at the NHL level because of those two things,” explained Thomas. “We both had to battle to get to the NHL. We took long roads to get there.”

St. Louis reached the NHL sooner than Thomas. St. Louis began his NHL career with the Lightning during the 2000-2001 season and he’s never looked back. He’s even won a Stanley Cup with Tampa in 2003-2004.

Now, Thomas will be attempting to stop one of the league’s prolific goal scorers.

“We’re both very competitive and we leave everything on the ice,” Thomas said. “I know it’s not going to be easy playing Marty St. Louis, so I have to be ready for that.”

The Lightning arrived in Boston Friday afternoon and held practice at TD Garden in preparation for Game 1 of this series on Saturday. Afterwards St. Louis discussed his relationship with Thomas: