Panthers’ Thomas eyes another run at a gold medal

– Returning to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this February was one of the main reasons, Florida goalie Tim Thomas said Monday that he ended his retirement and one-year hiatus.

“ I only got to play [part of one period] against Finland [in 2010]. But the whole experience was awesome,” said Thomas, 39. “It doesn’t matter if you’re playing or not in the Olympics you want to be a part of it, and I’d love to be a part of it again.”

Predators General Manager David Poile, also the GM of the U.S. national team, said last month in Nashville that although Thomas wasn’t invited to the tryouts last summer because he was still retired, he’s in the picture.

“He’s in the program and if he’s one of the best three goalies, he’s going to Sochi,” Poile said.


• CAROLINA GETS WARD BACK: The host Carolina Hurricanes lost 4-1 to the Boston Bruins in Cam Ward’s first game in goal since Oct. 24. Ward, who missed 10 games because of a leg injury, made 27 saves, settling down after surrendering two goals on Boston’s first four shots. Boston killed four Carolina power plays and hasn’t given up a power-play goal in its past 32 shorthanded situations.

• CHANGE PAYS OFF: Sidney Crosby’s goal — the third by the Penguins in a 4:04 span of the third period — secured a 3-1 home victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma shuffled lines, hoping to spark an offense that had scored only one goal in four of its past five games. Pascal Dupuis moved from the top line with Crosby to the second line with Evgeni Malkin. Jussi Jokinen, second on the team in goals, was bumped down to the third line, joining Brandon Sutter, who scored Pittsburgh’s second goal.

• DROUGHT ENDS: Sean Monahan’s goal in the eighth shootout round gave Calgary a 5-4 victory at Winnipeg and ended a six-game losing streak. The Flames were outshot 47-33.