Wings' Jimmy Howard lauds Tim Thomas

Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas had his overall shutout streak snapped at 145 minutes and his road shutout streak snapped at 234:05 in Boston's 4-3 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.

Nonetheless, he is back in Vezina Trophy form at 10-4-0 with a 1.85 GAA and .936 save percentage and has helped lead his team on a 10-game win streak heading into Friday's 1 p.m. tilt with the Detroit Red Wings.

Count Thomas' counterpart on the Wings, Jimmy Howard, as one of the awestruck fans who are still marveling at the historic season Thomas had in 2010-11, when he won the Vezina as well as the Conn Smythe Trophy and led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup title.

"The year that he had last year and what he did in the playoffs, winning the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup, and the stats that he threw up there were incredible," Red Wings goalie Howard said in a teleconference earlier this week. "Those are going to be tough numbers to try and beat."

Thomas set the NHL single-season record last year by posting a .938 save percentage. Howard has the utmost respect for Thomas and all he went through to get to the top.

"I've never met him, but I've got a lot of respect for him and what he's done in his career," Howard said. "He just continues to amaze people. The path that he had was a long one and probably made it that much sweeter for him. He's taken control of everything and you can tell he's having fun with it, too. So, it's great to see that."

Howard also knows that with the likelihood that Thomas will between the pipes for the Bruins on Friday, Howard will have to be on top of his game for the Red Wings to come into TD Garden and win this Original Six matchup.

"When you've got the best in the game down at the other end, you better bring your A-game," said Howard. "You know that on more nights than not he's going to have his."