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Julien opts for Thomas against Capitals

by Dan Rosen
WASHINGTON -- Boston coach Claude Julien has decided to walk through the door with the hot handle, so he'll start Tim Thomas in goal Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2, RIS) against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.

Thomas has won both of his starts this season, stopping 60 of 61 shots in the process (0.50 goals-against average, .984 save percentage). He's the hot goalie, so Julien is going to ride him at least through the first half of this home-and-home set with the Capitals.

Tuukka Rask will have to wait at least one more game before getting back in the net. He hasn't played since Oct. 9 against Phoenix in Prague, where he gave up four goals on 36 shots.

"You've got to ride the hot hand, but at the same time you have to realize that you have another goaltender right now that needs to play and will play," Julien said. "It's all part of the equation. Those two guys, and we've sat down and had the chat, they're well aware of what is going on. They both want to play, they both understand what is best for the team at certain times and as long as they both play well, they'll both play. That much I can tell you."

It wouldn't have been surprising for Julien to choose the other door and go with Rask against the Caps, considering it would be good for him to find his rhythm early in the season. However, with the Bruins' home-opener scheduled Thursday against Washington and another game at TD Garden on Saturday against the Rangers, it's safe to assume Rask will get in this week.

"We have plenty of games in every week and the schedule is going to get more condensed as we move on here," Julien said. "To me, this hasn't been an issue. Right now they seem to be very supportive of each other because they've taken the approach that it's about team first."

Neither Thomas nor Rask finds out who is starting until the morning of the game.

"I just come and if I'm told I get the nod than I'm happy and I get to play," Thomas said. "If I'm told that Tuukka is playing, I understand the reasoning behind that, too. There is work for both of us and I just want to do the best that I can so I can earn as much of that work that I can."

Rask is not dwelling on any lost time -- yet. He's just hopeful he'll get back in soon.

"This is the best situation for a hockey team," he told "If you don't know what's going on and you expect to be playing and you're not it would be tough, but that's not the case with our team. It's working good."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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