The Red Wings are the last team Thomas faced before suffering a groin strain in practice over two weeks ago - a span of six contests, including a four game swing through Canada in which they went an impressive 3-1.
In fact, including a win over Detroit back on December 7th, the Panthers have taken six of nine, including a streak of five consecutive - though Florida has lost their past two, giving up 11 goals in the process.
Scott Clemmensen had been solid during Thomas' absence, though Tampa Bay roughed him up on Monday night, leading some to question coach Peter Horachek's decision to leave him on the shelf through Christmas even though Thomas felt good enough to play.
"I don't see the purpose of it. Why do it right now? The extra few days would be the perfect scenario. We can see him after Christmas, or pretty close." - Horachek
In a related roster move, Clemmensen's back up Jacob Markstrom - who gave up five goals to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night - was sent packing for the team's AHL affiliate in San Antonio to clear the way for Thomas.