No doubt about it, the Bruins are playing playoff hockey. After clinching the playoffs with a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, the Bs have showed no signs of slowing down. Last night, they hosted the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, who are currently clinging to 8th place in the Western Conference. Facing a team playing desperate hockey is always a challenge, especially when you are not approaching the 2-points with a do-or-die mentality. Fortunately, the Bruins are more energized and focused than ever.
|#12 on the NHL career
scoring list (1,532 pts)
Zdeno Chara (14) and Johnny Boychuk (3) broke a scoreless tie with goals coming in a 2:20 span in the second period. Mark Recchi, the 43-year-old right-winger, had the helper on Boychuk’s goal giving him his 1,532nd career point. This moved him ahead of Paul Coffey and in to 12th place on the NHL’s career scoring list. He is now 47 points behind Ray Bourque, who holds the #11 slot with 1,579 points. Recchi announced after the game that if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup, he will retire. Horton added a goal in the third period, his 24th of the season.
Tim Thomas earned his 9th (25th career) shutout, his second in three games, stopping all 32 shots. He is currently the League leader in goals-against (1.96 GAA) and save percentage (.940). Just think about that last statistic for a second … Thomas has stopped 94% of the shots that came his way this season. That is ridiculous. The second best percentage in the League is .929 (owned by Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators). Thomas, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2009, is looking like the obvious candidate again this year.
A scary moment on the ice last night came at 3:31 of the 3rd period when T1AOB favorite Shawn Thornton collided with Fernando Pisani behind the Chicago net. The two got tangled up against the boards and Thornton ended up catching the blade of Pisani’s skate above his right eye. Gushing blood, the Bruins enforcer skated towards the Boston bench. When passing the Chicago bench, however, he was met by some chirping that he didn’t care for. Despite the fact that he was profusely bleeding from the head, Thornton went at the bench. Don Van Massenhoven, the official escorting him off the ice, was able to separate him from the Blackhawks bench before things escalated. Chara continued the scuffle after Thornton’s exit, exchanging words with the considerably smaller Patrick Kane.
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Thornton’s J-shaped wound required over 40 stitches. He was not allowed back on the ice, if that is any indication of how gnarly this injury really was. It is unclear when the Bruins blue-liner will return to action. Team doctors first must determine how Thornton’s cut will fit under his helmet – if the helmet doesn’t add pressure/create rubbing, he could return as soon as Saturday. He will most likely be wearing either a cage or a visor, something that (safe to say) will not be appreciated by Boston’s resident tough guy.
"I'm fine," Thornton said in post-game comments. "I guess I was lucky. It could have been worse. It could have been on the eye. No headache, no concussion, no nothing. It was just throbbing a little bit from getting stitches, but nothing bad." When asked about the incident at the Chicago bench, Thornton explained, "something was said. Obviously I can't swear when I talk to [the media]. There was some stuff said that I'm not happy about. I'm going to find out who it was and I will deal with it in my own way."
"Those guys on their team chirp a lot. I don't know if it is right when someone's face is half across the other side of their face," said Thornton. "But it is a tough game and people have to live with their actions. If you guys ever find out who it is, don't be afraid to send me a Christmas card."
The Bruins, who have allowed just three goals in their last five games, return to action tomorrow night against the Maple Leafs. They are now a comfortable 7 points ahead of Montreal in division standings and sit just 3 points behind Washington for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.