SUNRISE — Though he sat out last season, goalie Tim Thomas says he was confident he could take a training-camp tryout with the Panthers and turn it into a contract for this season.
"I knew that I'd train the whole year off, and I knew that I was in good condition, and I knew they'd be happy with what they saw," Thomas, 39, told nhl.com Friday, a day after signing a one-year deal.
Thomas, the 2011 playoff MVP for the Stanley Cup-winning Bruins and twice voted the league's top goalie, has said he took last season off to spend time with his family. After 10 days in camp with Florida, he played in his first game in 17 months Thursday, against the Lightning in a preseason contest at Estero.
The starter, Thomas stopped nine of 10 shots before Jacob Markstrom replaced him in the middle of the second period of Florida's 3-2 overtime loss.
"My movement felt real good," Thomas said. "My tracking the puck felt real good; 90 percent of the game situations felt comfortable. … It's kind of a little bit like riding a bike."
Thomas, who spent his eight previous seasons with Boston, said he was excited to join a team "in the middle of a new start." The Panthers introduced New York businessman Vinnie Viola as their new owner Friday.
The Panthers play the Lightning tonight at Sunrise. Coach Kevin Dineen said he hadn't decided on his goalie setup.
Preseason game highlights: Alex Ovechkin and Eric Fehr each scored twice and the host Capitals beat the Flyers 6-3 in a game that had five fights. … Former Lightning goalie Dan Ellis had 20 saves as the Stars beat the Oilers 4-0 in Oklahoma City. … New captain John Tavares scored twice and the host Islanders beat the Predators 6-4.
Penguins: Czech newspaper comments attributed to goalie Tomas Vokoun that he almost died from a pelvic blood clot last week and never will play again were inaccurate and he is feeling fine, his agent said. Vokoun was cleared to resume light workouts and skating next week, Allan Walsh told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.