|04.06.11 at 9:25 pm ET|
The Bruins broke the 100-point mark on the season Wednesday, grabbing a 3-2 victory against the Islanders and bringing their point total to 101.
Shawn Thornton, playing in his first game since receiving approximately 40 stitches for a gash above the right eye last week, scored his 10th goal of the season in the final second of the first period. The B’s also got goals from Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell. Islanders rookie Michael Grabner provided all of the scoring for New York with a pair of second-period tallies.
Tim Thomas picked up the victory for the Bruins, improving his record to 34-11-9 on the season. He made 30 saves on the night, with the Islanders totaling just four shots on goal in the third period. The B’s will host the Senators in their final regular season home game before finishing the season Sunday in New Jersey.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– With Thornton’s first-period goal, he and Gregory Campbell are the first B’s teammates to have both double digit goals and fights in the same season since Cam Neely and Nevin Markwart way back in 1986-87. Stick-tap to Doug Flynn over at NESN discovering a very interesting stat.
– Even without considering the milestone that Campbell and Thornton reached, Wednesday was all about the Merlot Line for the Bruins. Daniel Paille has shown an unmistakable determination since returning to the lineup, and he came close to beating Rick DiPietro multiple times Wednesday. Campbell’s goal, his
– Seidenberg’s goal Wednesday puts him at a career-high 31 points this season. Seidenberg’s previous best was 30 with the Hurricanes back in 2008-09. His seven goals are also a career-high.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Another poor performance on the power play. The B’s went 0-for-5 on the night and squandered a two-minute two-man advantage in the first period. They frequently missed on passes, and the cherry on top came in the form of Grabner’s sixth shorthanded goal of the season.
– Speaking of Grabner, the Islanders rookie has been large and in charge this season. The 23-year-old now leads all rookies with 33 goals, and his shorthanded tally in the second period gave him a total good for second in the NHL.
– No-show performance from the Bruins’ top line. Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci had only a Krejci shot to show for themselves on the stat sheet. Claude Julien broke the line up in the third period, playing Chris Kelly at center between Lucic and Horton. Krejci got just three shifts in the third period.
|04.06.11 at 8:37 pm ET|
The B’s continued to get pucks past Rick DiPietro in the second period, but a pair of Michael Grabner strikes have the Islanders within one. After two, the Bruins lead the Islanders, 3-2.
Grabner tied the game at one with his 32nd goal of the season, a power play strike at 3:24. Though the B’s would answer back with goals from Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell, Grabner would make it 3-2 on a shorthanded goal at 14:26.
The Islanders outshot the B’s, 14-10, in the period. Through two, the Bruins are 0-for-4 on the power play and have allowed a shorthanded goal.
|04.06.11 at 7:44 pm ET|
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the first period, and all it took was 19:59.9 for them to grab it.
The Bruins’ energy line carried the load in the period, with Shawn Thornton capping the period with his 10th goal of the season. The B’s went on a two-man advantage at 7:03 thanks to penalties drawn by Daniel Paille and Thornton. Paille, who got the primary helper on Thornton’s goal, has had a couple of great chances, though former BU goalie Rick DiPietro has come up big for the Islanders.
|04.06.11 at 7:32 pm ET|
According to ESPNChicago, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was yelled at by a Blackhawks player to “get off the ice” as he skated by the Chicago bench last Tuesday upon being cut in the head by Fernando Pisani‘s skate.
Thornton reacted furiously after hearing something the bench and had to be restrained by referee Don VanMassenhoven.
“I heard someone say, ‘Get off the ice, get off the [expletive] ice,'” VanMassenhoven told ESPNChicago. “I don’t know who said it.”
Thornton, who ended up receiving approximately 40 stitches and missing three games, noted after the contest that VanMassenhoven was “pissed” with what was said.
|04.06.11 at 7:12 pm ET|
The Bruins gave out their regular season awards prior to Wednesday night’s game. They are as follows:
Eddie Shore Award (exceptional hustle and determination): Shawn Thornton
Elizabeth Dufresne Award (outstanding performance in home games): Tim Thomas
John Bucyk Award (greatest off-ice charitable contributions): Andrew Ference
|04.06.11 at 12:53 pm ET|
The Bruins’ morning skate was of the optional variety, so though Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice, don’t be surprised to see either guy in net against the Islanders Wednesday. One would think Thomas figures to get the start in two of the Bruins’ three remaining games.
As for Shawn Thornton‘s return to the lineup, it will be interesting to see who ends up watching the game from the press box. Daniel Paille has made a real strong case to stay in the lineup, while Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder have not of late. Claude Julien noted that the team has “a couple” of decisions to make for Wednesday’s lineup, so how exactly it shakes out remains to be seen.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday:
– Julien said that the team has stopped talking about Monday’s ugly loss to the Rangers. The B’s blew a 3-0 lead, falling by a 5-3 score in a game that Julien hopes taught the team a lesson.
“When you blow a three nothing lead, especially after playing so well in the first half of the game, there’s a pretty good message there sent to your hockey club,” Julien said. “You hope that it’s utilized as a learning tool. There’s a lot of things that could have ended up a lot better had we respected the game plan and for the whole 60. I think we would have won that game. But something that sometimes you need to live through in order to get better. And those are lessons through the course of a season that teams go through and we’re no different.”
– The Islanders are 1-4-0 over their last five games, and that’s good news for a Bruins team that might be better off trying to win these final games after all. The Flyers lost on Tuesday night, so a win Tuesday would put the B’s within two points of second place with two games remaining for each team. It’s a bit of a pick-your-poison situation for the Bruins, as third place would currently match them up with the Canadiens, while second place would give them the Sabres.
Julien noted that given the team’s place in the standings, he might not focus so much on giving certain guys rest, stating that if you “look around the league, not too many players that have been given nights off” and that “depending on what’s going on in the standings and everything else, we can adjust accordingly.”
– Julien had an interesting answer when asked how he feels about his team heading into the playoffs, even pointing out the struggles of the Flyers.
“Everybody body looks for perfection and every little thing that doesn’t go well is going to be scrutinized and criticized. But you look around the league, I mean Vancouver has lost two games now to Edmonton, is there a panic there? Philadelphia is having a tough time,” he said. “I think once the playoffs start, the good teams are going to be ready to go, and we plan on being one of those.”
|04.06.11 at 12:06 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton is expected to make his return to the lineup Wednesday when the B’s take on the Islanders at TD Garden. Thornton missed three straight games after suffering a gash above his right eye last Tuesday against the Blackhawks and receiving approximately 40 stitches. He had his stitches removed Tuesday and skated in the team’s optional morning skate on Wednesday.
“Thornton is probably going to end up coming into our lineup,” coach Claude Julien said Wednesday morning. “I think he’s ready to go. He’s had the stitches out, so we’ll make a couple other decisions just before the game.”
The B’s enforcer will be wearing the helmet he began wearing following the injury. Originally with a visor, Thornton had the shield removed but will still wear the new helmet because its padding is cut down, allowing more room around the scar. He did not want to cut into his regular helmet, an old CCM that he noted is “really hard to find,” out of fear of having trouble replacing the padding once the scar was better.
Prior to Thornton’s injury, he had not missed a single game all season, playing in the team’s first 76 games. He has a career-high nine goals and eight assists for a career-high 18 points on the season.