Tim Thomas hits Carl Soderberg

BOSTON -- At the end of the Boston Bruins' 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, Panthers goalie Tim Thomas lost his cool, hitting Boston's Carl Soderberg in the head with his stick after Soderberg hit Thomas while going for a rebound.

In the closing seconds of the game, Soderberg charged into the crease after the puck and inadvertently hit Thomas with his stick. Thomas responded by taking a swing at the Bruins forward. Thomas was given a two-minute penalty for high sticking.

Thomas, who played seven seasons with the Bruins and was making his Boston debut as a member of the Panthers, said he wasn't happy Soderberg was still crashing the net in a game that was already decided.

"With less than a minute left in the game and they're up by four goals," Thomas said, "I took exception to that."

Soderberg said he was just going for a rebound of the puck.

"We can't stop playing just because there's three seconds left," Soderberg said. "I tried to score the whole way."

Soderberg said he had never been hit in the head by a goalie.

"No, I haven't seen that before," Soderberg said. "He hit me in the side of the helmet, I'm fine."

Bruins coach Claude Julien stood firmly behind his player.

"Carl does that even in practice. That's just his way," Julien said. "I'm not going to say he's reckless, but he has no fear. It's great to see a guy like that, with his size, just go in there and get his nose dirty, and it doesn't matter what time of game. You tell your players to play to the final whistle, and that's what he does."