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Thornton Helps B's to Win in Belfast

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Belfast, Northern Ireland -- Boston Bruins beat cop Shawn Thornton turned into a fortune teller before Saturday's game versus the Belfast Giants Selects.

Boston Bruins' Shaun Thornton (22) celebrates a goal against the Belfast Giants Select during the preseason NHL hockey game in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010. (AP Photo)
"I played against most of these guys in the minors," he said. "Good players.

"I think everyone’s expecting it to be a cakewalk, but I don’t think it will be.

"I think they’re going to give everything," added Thornton. "They have to make an impression too."

Thanks to a 37-save performance and nearly 40-minutes of shutout hockey from Belfast's Scottish-born goalie Stephen Murphy, Thornton's predictions came to fruition.

But thanks also to Thornton's timely playmaking and a two-goal performance by rookie center Tyler Seguin, the B's came out on top of the exhibition match with the Belfast-based all-star team.

"I don’t know if there were many plays, but I was lucky enough to get on the board a couple of times -- on the score sheet anyway," said Thornton.

"[Zdeno Chara] threw it on net, and I was standing in front, and it went in," said Shawn of his first assist. "The other one, [scored by Brad] Marchand -- a pretty good individual effort. The puck hit me on the break out, and I heard him yelling for it, and I just chipped it to him.

"The rest was him.

"I think me, (Marchand) and Soupy (Gregory Campbell), I guess in the first two periods, I thought we gelled really well," he said.

The new line was a successful combination for B's head coach Claude Julien and Thornton was pleased to be part of the Bruins new line sandpaper.

"I thought we (initiated) the play a lot in their zone," said Thornton. "That was my first time playing with Soupy all camp, and it was a pleasure.

"We had a good time out there."

That was particularly so after the clubs three goals in the final 1:36 of the second period.

"We got a power play... then we got a goal (from Seguin), and then our line went out and just worked hard and got lucky and got a couple to get us the lead," said Thornton. "I mean, it was nice that there was a minute and a half left and we kind of had the momentum going into the third period."

Thornton did admit he tried to soak up as much of the festive atmosphere in the Odyssey Arena as possible.

"I think it my mom waved at me one more time, she was going to sprain her wrist," said Thornton (whose mom was born in Belfast) with a chuckle. "I got here pretty early to try to 'drink it in' as you say.

"I enjoyed it...(But) on the other side, though, I was trying to be competitive.

"But it’s not hard to step back during time outs and I had about 12 minutes in the second period where there’s penalties that I really got to drink it in while I was watching, so it was great," he said.

At the end of the night the B's saluted their new fans in the UK.

"I think the boys enjoyed it," said Thornton. "It was a great time."

And a pretty good game, too.
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