BOSTON -- The Bruins didnt want any extracurricular activities in a regular season finale that had no meaning for either them or the Buffalo Sabres.
But Buffalo defenseman Robyn Regehr was playing like it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals during the first period anyway. The notoriously tough customer blocked five shots in the first 20 minutes and he was hacking and whacking away at Bruins players including a cross-check on Shawn Thornton.
In the perfect example of the understated role that Thornton sometimes plays on the Bs team, the Bs enforcer took it upon himself to send a message to Regehr that he was looking for all of his Bruins teammates to remain healthy for the playoffs. So Thornton dropped the gloves and floored Regehr with an overhand right to the Buffalo defensemans face.
There wasnt another incident with any Sabres players during the 4-3 shootout win.
I think it was great to see that character coming back in the last game of the season and feeling good about the way we finished heading into next week, said Patrice Bergeron. I think we are happy with it and we found a win.
Credit Thornton with some of the character and the burning deep desire they found to get the win.
Thats the kind of intimidation and order that Thornton brings to the games style when he is out on the ice in his fourth line role, and that hockey fight also just so happened to pull Thornton into a tie with Brandon Prust for the NHL lead with 20 fights this season. Thornton said it was no big deal after getting into 21 fights a few seasons ago, but the timing and message sent certainly made it a big deal.
I hadnt planned on dropping the gloves tonight. It was no big deal to me either way, but Regehr hit me a couple of times so I assumed that he had something he wanted to take care of, said Thornton. Theres no need for the cross-checks when were just trying to stay healthy and get ready for the playoffs.
Thornton made sure of that on Saturday afternoon, and now everybody leaves that game healthy looking forward to the playoffs next week.