As the Dallas Stars were taking the ice for their morning pre-game skate, Bruins head coach Claude Julien reflected on the team his players would face that night.
“They might be off to just an average start, but they have the players to do the job and to do the damage,” he said, calling them “well-structured” and “well-coached.”
“We need to prepare to see their best tonight,” he said.
He also drew some similarities between the Black & Gold and the Green and Gold.
“Hard-working forwards that grind it out to score,” he said. “It should be an interesting match-up.”
“Interesting” was an understatement.Sturm Storms Back
Just 2:41 into the opening period, Marco Sturm took a pass from Wheeler and netted the puck past Stars goalie Marty Turco
for his second goal of the season.
“It feels great to be back on the scoreboard,” said Sturm. “Hopefully they keep going in.”
The goal also marked Blake Wheeler’s first NHL assist.
Sturm scored a second goal – this time on a power play – with 5:43 left in the third period, tossing it in the right side of the net off a pass from PJ Axelsson.
“He was in the right spot, even that last goal, it was great play,” said Julien. “He buried those. I thought he was a better player tonight.”Fightin’ Ference
With about 15 minutes to play in the game, Andrew Ference
had had enough of the pushing and shoving that Dallas had doled out since the first period. And, after giving up on ignoring the pesky Steve Ott, Ference proceeded to steamroll him at center ice.
“He’s going to be hitting teammates, our teammates, be playing physical,” he said. “It doesn’t do any good to yap, you just have to play physical against him.”
Ference took another chance to “play physical” by fighting Sean Avery, who had come to defend his teammate.
“Just because you see each other once, it doesn’t matter,” said Ference. “Guys get amped up to face that challenge.”Thornton Gets in on the Action
A much more likely candidate for a fighting penalty is Shawn Thornton
, who engaged Krystopher Barch in the second official fight of the night, just five minutes after Ference’s throwdown.
“All of a suddent, it got out of control,” said Julien. “I think our guys handled it the right way by standing up to them.”
Gloves thrown down at center ice, Thornton managed to knock off Barch’s helment. And although Barch got Thorton onto the ice first, the Bruins beat cop got in quite a few good punches.
Coach Julien spoke about his forward.
“Yeah, Thornton took a four-minute penalty, but there was a guy who almost took our player’s knees out,” Julien said. “Personally, I felt bad for Barch that he had to mop up the mess that the other two teammates couldn’t finish.”A First for Stewie
In the midst of all the WWE-style action, Mark Stuart tallied the Bruins fourth goal of the night, his first of the season, and gave the B’s a comfortable lead with a little under nine minutes remaining in the game.
“I don’t think we tried to send a statement to anybody,” Stuart said. “It was more for ourselves just to come out with a strong effort.”
With contribution from pretty much the entire team, Stuart said he saw what the B’s are capable of.
“If we play 60 minutes, then we can produce offense and keep them off the board as well,” he said.B's Boxing Card
Okay, so the Bruins won, 5-1, and there were some awesome goals and some good hits – but the biggest crowd-pleaser of the night was the all-out war that was waged in the Black & Gold end of the ice during the third period.
Less than a minute after Stuart’s goal, Avery laid a questionable hit on Milan Lucic
“Just happy I didn’t get hurt,” said Lucic, who was curious, much like the media, as to whether the hit would lead to a suspension.
“We’ll see; it’s not really for me to answer,” he said. “Either way, there’s not much I can do about it.”
Avery, though, should have known that you don’t mess with the tough guys.
In defense of his teammate, Marc Savard
sped to the corner and began pounding on Avery, who was crouched to the ice.
“It wasn’t the cleanest hit,” Savard said. “I was just trying to help a teammate.”
Fans cheering, the rest of the Bruins on the ice got into the action as well, resulting in a pileup that took the refs some serious time to sort out.
“It’s a sign of leadership,” said Aaron Ward. “You really have to play off what happens in the game; you’ve got to give a little help.”
With five ten-minute misconducts handed out, along with two five-minute fighting penalties and two two-minute penalties, the benches looked a lot emptier for the remainder of the game. The Garden, however, sounded a lot louder.
A bit reminiscent of seasons past? Perhaps.
After all, Luch did raise his arms and encourage the crowd to cheer, even as he was headed down the hallway to the locker room.
“I think the fans may have had a flashback,” said Ward. “The game…hasn’t gone this way, but sometimes situations call for it, and teams have to stick together.”
It should be noted, too, that goalies Tim Thomas
and Marty Turco
looked ready to have some fun.
“He looked at me like he was going to jump into the pile,” said Thomas. “I just responded by getting on the other side of the pile.’”