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Back to Reality in Raleigh

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
RALEIGH, NC -- Even before he had taken off his blue Team Lidstrom gear, All-Star 2011's game-winning goaltender Tim Thomas was asked to quickly switch gears and answer questions about the prospects of Boston's Black & Gold.

Team Lidstrom goaltender Tim Thomas (30), of the Boston Bruins, and teammate Matt Duchene, of the Colorado Avalanche, celebrate following Team Lidstrom's 11-10 win over Team Staal in hockey's NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Given the excitement of the past few days, and Thomas' record-setting third consecutive NHL All-Star victory, it was natural to think that Thomas might look to use his experience in Raleigh as a kind of spring board into the "second half" of the B's 2010-11 campaign.

"I dont think you need to," said Thomas. "I think we should take the momentum from the last game we played there, the win against Florida.

"But its going to be a totally different game on Tuesday -- just a different style of hockey."

After the relative adulation directed at Thomas following Tim's smiling good sport acceptance of his slip and fall during Saturday's SuperSkills Fastest Skater competition, Thomas surely understands that Tuesday's contest with Carolina represents a return to reality for everyone on the Bruins.

Raleigh and the RBC Center will no longer be the warm home-away-from-home that Thomas, Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin have experienced since last Thursday.

"Yeah, they're a fast team and they're a good team," Thomas said of the Carolina Hurricanes. "They're dangerous and you've got to be on your toes and ready to match them."

But Thomas cautioned that nobody needs to jump into postseason mode in February, either.

"Oh, are we turning every game into the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals again?" said Thomas with a laugh.

"Every game is important in the NHL for the two points," he added in a more serious tone. "You know, you've got a team like Carolina who does have a tradition of being strong in the last half of the season and they're trying to work their way up the line.

"At the same time well be looking to get the two points to keep them down."
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