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Thornton Sparks B's Big Win

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BostonBruins.com -- The Boston Bruins played like a club that had something to prove and defeated the Atlanta Thrashers  4-1 on Thursday night thanks to a full game effort in front of a sellout TD Garden crowd of 17, 565


Thornton
The Bruins, who have sold out every game in the 2010 calendar year (regular season and playoffs) for the first time since the Stanley Cup Championship year of 1972,  came into the contest with four losses out of their last five games and looked to bounce back before the two day NHL holiday break.

B's winger Shawn Thornton kicked off the B’s bounce back just two second into the game when he fought Thrasher tough guy Eric Boulton. Thornton then followed up the fisticuffs with two goals, his sixth and seventh of the season, to set a new career high and earn his second career two goal effort.

“I can’t believe the clock went two seconds. I thought it was as soon as the puck dropped. I was a little mad that I had to wait until 14:58, I wanted to be out at 15 even,” said Thornton, jokingly, postgame.

“We got the start and I thought it was as good a time as any to try and get the guys going, maybe, show that we’re here to play, show some emotion and get a little spark.”

The momentum tilted in favor of the Bruins and never swung back.

“He’s such a team guy. He’s so great,” said Bruins forward Nathan Horton.  “It’s nice to see him get a couple goals and almost get the third one.”

Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien was pleased with Thornton’s early efforts to spark the team.

“He set the stage right off the bat and he stood [up] for his team,” he told NESN’s Naoko Funayama.

Boston Bruins' Shawn Thornton (22) celebrates his goal with teammates, including Adam McQuaid (54,) in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010, in Boston. The Bruins won 4-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
“Afterwards he scored some big goals for us and he was a key player in our victory tonight. “

But Thornton wasn’t alone in his efforts.

“I think [Patrice Bergeron] made me look smart by going out and getting a shorthanded goal and getting the momentum for us,” Thornton said.

“So that should be a tribute to my teammates too for stepping up.”

Bergeron’s shorthanded goal at 3:00 in the first marked his 300th NHL point.

Before the game, Boston mixed up its lines and hoped to spark a strong start for a team that had been booed at home during the club’s loss to Anaheim. Not only did the Black & Gold get that strong start, they continued their energetic play throughout the full sixty minutes of regulation.

“I think the line changes definitely gave the team a little spark,” Bruins rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer told NESN’s Kathryn Tappen and Mike Milbury. “It started us off on the right foot and I think it really got us going tonight.”

Emotions on both sides of the ice boiled over at 15:54 of the third when Boston forward Milan Lucic took a hit to the head from Thrasher Freddy Meyer. The high hit prompted Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference to pounce and led to a fight that saw five Bruins escorted from the rink with game misconducts.

“I think it’s good we stood up for each other,” said Bruins forward Michael Ryder, who tallied the game winning tally with a power play goal at 4:04 of the second period. “You know it’s good to see us have some emotion.”

Boston hopes that emotion carries over to Monday, December 27th, when the club travels to Florida to take on the Panthers.

---Hannah Becker
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