Thornton keeps the peace in season finale


Thornton keeps the peace in season finale

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.

Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17


Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

ARLINGTON, Texas - Maybe the Cowboys will be OK without quarterback Tony Romo this time. The future of the Dallas running game with Ezekiel Elliott looks pretty good, too.

Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass in fellow rookie Elliott's first 100-yard game, and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without the injured Romo over three seasons before the fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott's first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he's up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia's Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals for a rookie in NFL history.

"Dak's handled every opportunity he's had right from the start really, really well," coach Jason Garrett said. "No different tonight."

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards - a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter - and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

"We haven't played a complete game," Fox said. "This week was the reverse of what we've had. We played very poorly in the first half."

Elliott finished with 140 yards on 30 carries, including a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski. The Cowboys kept giving him the ball while trying to work the clock with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a week after he was benched because of two fumbles in a win over Washington.

"Made a lot of good runs tonight, a lot tough runs, a lot of NFL runs," Garrett said. "He's physically tough. He's mentally tough."

It didn't even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas' first home win since last year's opener, which was a week before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season.

Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott had one of three rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn't do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.