|04.05.11 at 2:08 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After missing last the last three games due to stitches above his right eye, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said he hopes to return to the lineup Wednesday night against the Islanders. The stitches, of which there were approximately 40, will be removed before the game, and Thornton said he just needs medical clearance and the OK from Claude Julien.
“I think so, but I’m not 100 percent [sure],” Thornton said Tuesday of the possibility of him returning.
“We’ll figure it out tomorrow,” Julien said. “He’s day-to-day and that hasn’t changed. We’ll see tomorrow and make a decision on him, whether he’s capable of jumping in our lineup or not.”
|04.05.11 at 12:15 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Trying to shake off the stink of an ugly 5-3 loss to the Rangers in which they led, 3-0, the Bruins took to Ristuccia Arena for a noon skate Tuesday.
Michael Ryder was donning a grey jersey, making the third line the one with the extra man. Looks like Daniel Paille might stick in the lineup, potentially at the expense of Tyler Seguin once Shawn Thornton, who skated without a visor, returns.
|04.04.11 at 9:57 pm ET|
The Bruins blew a three-goal lead Monday night at Madison Square Garden, falling victim to two late goals within 51 seconds to drop a 5-3 decision to the Rangers.
The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead, as first-period goals from Daniel Paille and Nathan Horton were followed by Chris Kelly’s first goal as a Bruin at 10:32 of the second. The Rangers would quickly climb their way back into the game, getting a pair of second-period tallies from Vaclav Prospal, with Wojtek Wolski picking up assists on each goal. Brandon Dubinsky and Michael Sauer scored at 16:12 and 17:03, respectively, to tie it and take the lead in the third. Derek Stepan sealed it with an empty-netter.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins knew the Rangers were a team desperate for a pair of points, and though they came out the stronger team, they took a nap after Kelly’s goal. All in all, the B’s ended up with just four shots on Lundqvist in the second period after putting 19 on net in the first period. The Rangers were playing a playoff game, and when the B’s are doing the same next week, they’ll need more of a 60-minute effort.
– The four goals allowed by Thomas were the most he’s given up since March 19, a span of six starts. Thomas didn’t seem to have it even before the Rangers opened it up, but their opportunities were so scarce early on that it seemed it could be smooth sailing for the Bruins’ netminder.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– How do you sit Paille when Shawn Thornton returns? Tyler Seguin has shown at certain points recently that he deserves to be in the lineup come playoff time, but Paille is producing. The former first-round pick had a season-high four shots on goal.
– With Horton’s goal, he now has seven points over his last seven games. Twenty-five wasn’t the number that people had in mind when he came over here (a prediction of 30 would have been considered conservative before the season), but if he produces the way he has of late and not the way he did in the middle of the season, the Bruins won’t be able to complain.
– Kelly hasn’t exactly a statistical monster since being acquired in February (two points in 20 games; zero in his last 16), so his first goal with the B’s is both a welcomed and overdue sight.
– The B’s may not have gotten many shots on Lundqvist in the second period (see below), but they didn’t deal with as many blocked shots as they could have expected based on March 26. The last time the two teams met, the Rangers blocked 29 shots, 18 of which came in the third period.
|04.04.11 at 9:04 pm ET|
The Bruins opened up a three-goal lead in the second period, but a Rangers duo doomed the Bruins twice to make it a 3-2 game heading into the third period.
Chris Kelly scored his first goal as a member of the Bruins, looking off Tyler Seguin and beating Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist-shot at 10:32. Just 1:02 later, Tim Thomas came out of his net and thought he’d stopped a Wojtek Wolski shot, but it trickled through his legs, allowing Vaclav Prospal easy access to an easy goal.
Prospal would make it a one-goal game at 18:26, with Wolski getting his second assist on the night.
The Bruins had just four shots on goal in the period, and hold a 23-15 advantage after two.
|04.04.11 at 8:14 pm ET|
So much for the Bruins struggling to get shots on (and past) Henrik Lundqvist.
The Bruins are outshooting the Rangers, 19-5, and hold a 2-0 lead after a period. Daniel Paille scored his second goal in as many games (third in his last six contests) when he redirected a Johnny Boychuk shot past Lundqvist at 15:16. Just over a minute and a half later, Nathan Horton scored his 25th of the season, banging home a loose puck in front of the Rangers’ netminder.
|04.04.11 at 2:41 pm ET|
Claude Julien told reporters prior to Monday’s game in New York that Shawn Thornton (stitches) would be able to go if it were the playoffs. Since it isn’t the playoffs, the B’s are being careful with Thornton and likely going without the forward vs. the Rangers.
“Doubtful,” Julien said Tuesday. “He’s skating this morning but he still has the visor. I don’t think we’re 100 percent comfortable right now medically. As long as they’re not comfortable, I guess we have that luxury of being a little more cautious.”
Thornton was cut above the eye last week by a skate against the Blackhawks. He received approximately 40 stitches, some of which were on the inside and could potentially break from much contact.
“I think if we’re in the playoffs today and he had to play, there’s no doubt he’d be in there,” Julien said, adding that the medical staff feels it’s “a lot safer if we take the cautious route.”
Thornton has appeared in 76 games this season, totaling nine goals and nine assists for a career-high 18 points.
|04.04.11 at 10:59 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has had a career year this season, setting career highs with nine goals and 18 assists in a campaign that seems to argue with him strictly being called an enforcer. Now, those efforts — and how far he’s come — have been recognized, at least locally. The Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has chosen Thornton as the Bruins’ candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
In the past, the award has gone to players coming off injuries (Steve Sullivan, 2008-09) or facing major adversity (Jose Thoeodore won it last season for his performance after his son’s death, while Phil Kessel and Jason Blake won it in the past for playing through cancer). Thornton didn’t have to deal with such life obstacles, but his career has been far from smooth sailing.
Drafted in the seventh round back in 1997, Thornton never made it to NHL in five seasons with the Maple Leafs, and after stops in Chicago and Anaheim, he came to Boston in 2007 having never played 50 games in a season. Since coming to the Bruins, he has played at least 70 games in three of his four campaigns. Furthermore, his offensive production has increased without his fighting suffering. Though nine goals won’t get him confused with Steven Stamkos, his work ethic is something all his teammates aim to replicate.