After this morning’s pre-game skate, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said he knew his team had to be “prepared for a tough game [against] a team that has all the elements to be a good hockey club.
“We just have to make sure we bring our A-game tonight.”
The B’s actually brought their A-plus game in what was a sometimes-violent 6-0 blowout of the Anaheim Ducks.Big, Bad Bruins
Clearly, Julien knew to expect a hard-hitting game from the Ducks.
“They’ve got some big guys that are pretty physical back here, and [Chris] Pronger is similar to a guy like Zdeno Chara
,” said Julien. “Our guys are going to have to battle through that and get to the front of the net. What we talking about [was] driving and getting a presence in front and stay there.”
But the B’s have some pretty big, physical guys as well – Milan Lucic
, for example, who recorded four hits tonight and had a fight (and takedown) of Ducks forward Mike Brown during the second period.
“It’s not an easy job to do, but it’s a job that he does extremely well, and he’s one of the best at it,” Julien said. “He makes room for [his linemates], certainly gives them a physical presence and everything else.”
There’s also Shawn Thornton
(all 6’2, 217-pounds of him) who took on Anaheim’s George Parros (who is 6’5”, 231-pounds) during the second, getting the takedown after landing a few nice punches.
And then there’s the all-around physicality of the Bruins team.
“It’s not about throwing the big hits, but they’ve got a little bit of a mean streak in them when they’re going into the corners,” said Julien after this morning’s skate. “They win their battles, and they put their bodies in a position where they can move people around.”One day down did the trick for Hunwick
With Aaron Ward out sick, Matt Hunwick, who was recalled from Providence this morning after being sent down for the AHL team’s Wednesday night game, found himself in the B’s lineup for the first time since the Feb. 7 game against Philadelphia.
“I was happy to go down and play, get some ice time,” said Hunwick this morning. “It’s probably easier going down knowing that you’re going to be back the next day.”
That in-game workout seemed to have the desired effect. The rookie D-man notched the B’s first goal of the game at 17:54 of the first period with a beautiful shot from the left faceoff circle that dinged into the goal off the post.
“He’s not the biggest guy or the tallest guy, but still, he’s so strong on the skates,” said Martins Karsums who has played alongside and against Hunwick in Providence and Boston this season. “He uses whole body, his stick, his hands…he can make the plays.”
Hunwick also earned an assist on the B’s sixth goal of the night during the third period.A good night in goal...
It’s not often a goaltender earns an assist. But in the stats from tonight’s game, the “A” column next to Tim Thomas
’s name was not empty. Thomas got credit for an assist on the B’s fourth goal of the game, and Michael Ryder’s second of the evening.
Thomas also made 35 saves to record his fourth shutout of the season, including some typical, “Timmy-style” beauties: a “flying” dive to the side of the net during the first period; one that found him sprawled on his back, head in the net, in the second; and a couple of pad saves in the final 20-minutes of play.
Tonight was also a night of milestones for the Boston netminder, as Thomas held on for his 100th career win.
It was also the goaltender’s 40th game of the season, which raised his record to 27-8-5. He still leads the league in goals against (2.06) and save percentage (.932).Notes:
Chuck Kobasew also tallied two goals on the night…Andrew Ference
had two assists…Matt Hunwick notched a goal and an assist.Angela Latona contributed to this report.