BOSTON, MA --
The B's might have fought back from two two-goal leads for the Winnipeg Jets, but Tuesday night's game might be best remembered for Shawn Thornton
's short handed penalty shot, which tied the game early in the second and set up Nathan Horton
, Tyler Seguin
and Benoit Pouliot
's third period heroics.
"You guys probably won’t believe it, but I practice that move a bunch – we do a lot of shootouts at the end of practice," said the B's beat cop, who also fought former teammate, Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart during the second period. "It used to work until Tuukka knew that.
"After they called [the penalty shot] I looked at Tuukka and he was shaking his head yes to try it, so why not."
As perhaps the most gregarious of the Boston Bruins, and thanks to his role as the team's most frequent pugilist, Thornton is used to being the center of attention. But the forward said that his moment alone at center ice made him "real nervous."
Postgame, Thorton explained, "Anytime you’re out there in front of that many people and it’s just you – I mean I guess I do all the time when I fight, but I’m a little bit nervous with my hands scoring goals than I am the other stuff."
He shouldn't have been, as the B's right wing faked forehand, dangled and then put the puck over Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec on the backhand to the delight of the crowd.
Even so, Thornton said he had never taken a professional penalty shot in the AHL or NHL.
"No, God no. I’ve never had a penalty shot – AHL, NHL. I was real nervous, not going to lie to you," he said. "I haven’t taken a penalty shot in front of people since the Max Milk Midget Tournament.
"I won that shootout competition by the way – I have the belt buckle to prove it."
Thornton also proved willing to fight anyone - including a former teammate and friend.
"It’s the fifth or sixth time it’s happened this year," said Thornton. "When you’ve been around this long you’ve played with a lot of guys so it’s bound to happen every now and again.
"He cleared me out in front of the net there after the whistle and I took exception to it. He’s a good friend of mine – he’s a character guy," said Thornton. "He’s a guy that I was sad to see leave here, but at the same time he knew I’d be pushing back and he’s the type of guy who will stand up for himself.
"I just wasn’t going to let him take liberties on me and I figured I’d push back and we went, it’s as simple as that. I’ll still buy him a beer after the game if I see him – no hard feelings."
There were also no hard feelings for Tyler Seguin
, who scored a very similar looking goal to Thornton's penalty shot when he beat Pavelec for the B's game-winner at 3:06 of the third.
Asked if he was flattered by Seguin's use of his move, Thornton deadpanned, "It’s not the first time. You guys know I’ve taught him everything he knows since he’s been six years old."
But don't go expecting Black & Gold number-22 to get tapped for action the next time B's Head Coach Claude Julien needs to fill out a shootout lineup.
"He still has a long way to go," said Julien with a smirk.