The All-American Vezina battle commences

BOSTON — Jonathan Quick might be 12 years Tim Thomas’ junior, but so far in the NHL career of both goaltenders the youngster has gotten the better of the grizzled veteran.

Tonight at TD Garden, the pair of American-born puck-stoppers are scheduled to stage the fourth installment of their netminding rivalry.

In three prior meetings, including two last season, Quick and the Los Angeles Kings have beaten the Bruins. But the difference has been razor thin, with both games last season going to a shootout and the one in 2008-09 going to overtime.

Thomas said he remembers the two games from last season but couldn’t recall the one from the prior season. However, he does remember bonding a bit with quick as Olympic teammates. First, the two goaltenders were roommates the U.S. evaluation camp in Chicago. And then they spent time together last winter at the games in Vancouver.

“Last summer, he was in the process of getting married and he had his first baby right after the Olympics, so I have experience with that,” said Thomas after this morning’s pregame skate. “So it wasn’t something we exactly had in common, but it was something we could talk about.”

The biggest common denominators between the two are their dominance between the pipes and their nationality. Thomas is off to a 10-1-0 start with a 1.37 goals-against average and .959 save percentage in 12 games. Quick’s first 12 games have gone similarly, with a 10-2-0 record, 1.73 GAA and .939 save percentage.

Along with Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, last year’s Vezina Trophy winner, Thomas and Quick are forming an American goaltending triumvirate that seems to be taking over the NHL. It wouldn’t be surprising to see all three in Las Vegas next June as Vezina finalists.

Thomas and Quick will battle for the edge in that Vezina race tonight.

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