SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida goaltender Tim Thomas didn't get the result he hoped for in his first game against his former teammates Thursday night as Reilly Smith scored 58.7 seconds left to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the host Panthers at BB&T Center.
Thomas spent parts of eight seasons with the Bruins and led Boston to the Stanley Cup in 2011, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP.
The Bruins jumped on Thomas early, scoring twice in the first 13 minutes before watching Thomas get his game going. Thomas ended the night with 37 saves.
"For us, he's not our teammate anymore, so we're just going to take him as our enemy and try to get two points there," David Krejci said before the game.
"We've got some good memories. It was good times, but now he's on the other side and we're going to try to do everything we can to put some pucks behind him and get a win tonight."
Boston, playing the Panthers as a divisional rival for the first time, took the initial lead at 3:45 of the first when Daniel Paille charged in on Thomas and scored top shelf. This came after Thomas turned back a tough first offering from Patrice Bergeron.
The Bruins' second goal of the first came on a power play chance with Dougie Hamilton whipping a shot from inside the blue line. Thomas, shielded by Zdeno Chara, didn't see it coming and it was 2-0 at 12:47.
Florida hung on as Thomas turned back the Bruins on numerous occasions after that and cut its deficit in half when Kris Versteeg fired a shot from the right circle with Tomas Kopecky charging in to screen Tuukka Rask at 12:32 of the second period.
The Panthers tied it with six minutes remaining as Jesse Winchester followed his own shot and put a loose rebound past Rask.
Only the Panthers couldn't close things out as Smith backhanded a shot that trickled past Thomas.
Thomas left Boston with a year remaining on his contract after a tumultuous 2011-12 season and took last season off. Thomas accepted a professional tryout with the Panthers in September and after a strong showing in training camp, signed a one-year contract two weeks later.
Thursday's game was Thomas' first since suffering a minor groin injury last week in Philadelphia.
Rask, Thomas' protege in Boston, looked sharp throughout to earn his fourth victory of the season. Thomas is 1-3-0 after getting the win in Florida's season-opener in Dallas.
NOTES: The Panthers scratched D Ryan Whitney for the fourth straight game. D Matt Gilroy has taken his place in the lineup. Florida also scratched third-string G Scott Clemmensen and RW Krys Barch. RW Scottie Upshall was back in the lineup after being scratched Tuesday in Nashville. "My play warranted being a healthy scratch," Upshall said. ... Boston scratched D Adam McQuaid for the first time this season. ... Florida's Thomas and Brad Boyes aren't the only players who had ties to the opposition on Thursday. Boston C Gregory Campbell spent parts of six seasons with the Panthers and D Dennis Seidenberg was with Florida in 2009-10. ... Boston C Carl Soderberg (ankle) took part in a full-contract practice on Wednesday for the first time since being hurt in the final exhibition game. Soderberg is not expected to return to the lineup until next week. ... Florida LW Sean Bergenheim was thought to be close to a return to the lineup, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Bergenheim had two abdominal surgeries last year and only played in two games in Finland during the lockout. Bergenheim has left the team to train with what coach Kevin Dineen called a "therapist he feels gives him a chance to come back to full health" in Toronto through the weekend. Bergenheim still needs to be medically cleared before he can return. Bergenheim was said to be meeting with his surgeon in Nashville when Florida traveled there, but he left for Toronto instead. ... Boston's opening goal was the quickest allowed by Thomas this season. Paille's goal came at 3:45 of the first period. Thomas allowed a goal in Philadelphia at 4:49 in his previous start.