BOSTON – Back in November of 2008 when the Bruins faced the Dallas Stars, the Black and Gold were in a similar slump to the one they’ve been witnessing recently and the rallied together after a night filled with fights and line brawls.
Fast forward two years later where the Bruins faced a similar situation against the Atlanta Thrashers Thursday night and were looking for a needed boost after a slump that saw the team get off to slow starts and sub-par play.
But Thursday night Shawn Thornton provided a big energy boost when he dropped the gloves with Thrashers enforcer Eric Boulton just two seconds into the contest.
Thornton would also play a starring role with a two-goal performance (his first coming 5:00 into the second period – just 46 seconds after a power play goal by Michael Ryder – and his second coming at 4:54 of the third) in the Bruins’ 4-1 victory in front of another sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden.
Thornton was quite surprised when he found out how much time ticked off the clock after his bout with Boulton.
“I can’t believe the clock went two seconds,” said the Bruins’ enforcer. “I thought it was as soon as the puck dropped. I was a little mad that I had to wait until 14:58 [to get out of the penalty box]; I wanted to be out at 15 even. But you know what we’ve been a little flat lately…We got the start and I thought it was a good a time as any to try and get things going, show that we’re here to play, show some emotion and get a little spark.”
That spark proved dividends as the Bruins provided a 60-minute effort. And just 3:00 into the contest, Patrice Bergeron scored a shorthanded goal – his seventh of the season – to give the Black and Gold a 1-0 lead.
“I think Bergy made me look smart by going out and getting a shorthanded goal and getting the momentum for us,” said Thornton, who was still serving his fighting major during Bergeron’s shorthanded goal. “That should be a tribute to my teammates too for stepping up.”
Not only did Thornton’s teammates step up in a big way, but they also played a strong supporting role as they stood up for each other even when the game was out of reach.
After Freddy Meyer elbowed Milan Lucic at 15:54 of the final stanza, the Bruins came to Lucic’s aid and stood up for their teammate. Eight players were sent to the penalty box totaling 106 penalty minutes in the line brawl including Marc Savard – who dropped the gloves with Bryan Little – Andrew Ference – who was the first person to come in after Meyer’s shot on Lucic – and Nathan Horton, while Evander Kane and Anthony Stewart also were called for fighting majors along with Little.
“We played hard for sixty minutes,” said Lucic. “We had all twenty guys going. We had each other’s backs from the start, and it started with a big fight with [Shawn] Thorny and we are all happy with how everything went today.”
“We’re committed to work together,” added Savard. “And when we do, we’re going to get results. We had four lines going tonight. It was just fun. It was fun to be part of the game.”
At the end of the day, the Bruins got to enjoy the victory and perhaps this will bring the team closer together, much like their game two years ago against Dallas.
“I’m pretty sure we’re aware now that that’s how we have to play if we’re going to be successful,” said Thornton. “We saw spurts of that earlier in the year when we had everyone going. There was passion. Everyone was involved emotionally and that’s what we need every night if this team is going to be successful.”