ANAHEIM, CA Marty Turco badly wanted to atone for his abysmal performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and he didnt want his NHL career to potentially end on the sour note of being pulled four minutes into a game.
So the 36-year-old bided his time and worked diligently in practice, and then finally got his chance once again when Tim Thomas was given a day of rest on the second night of back-to-back games against Pacific Division foes. For a player with as much professional pride and big experience as Turco, there had to be little doubt hed be as ready as his still-considerable skills would allow.
After watching Turco on Sunday afternoon against the Ducks, his skills will still allow quite a bit.
Turco finished with 29 saves and survived a firestorm at the end of the third period to hold on for a 3-2 victory over the Ducks at the Honda Center. It was the former Dallas and Chicago netminders first NHL victory since Feb. 11 of last season, and he was giving it up to the defenders around his net.
When I first got here this team wasnt firing on all cylinders. They werent playing like they can and imposing their will. Team defense is what makes this team tick and the team defense comes with an attitude, said Turco. Its a real treat to have these guys out there and not just the defense. With five seconds left you have one of the strongest men in the world holding the puck in the corner. Its a treat to have that working on your side.
With that defense forming a wall in front of him, Turco was able to withstand some of Anaheims inevitable attack once they got down by two goals in the second period. Teemu Selanne was able to sneak a tipped puck by him in the second, but Turco looked quick and confident with his glove hand snaring a Bobby Ryan wrister in the slot here or a Francois Beauchemin point blast there.
More important than the personal victory for Turco or the fact the Bruins took two out of three on their Pacific Division road trip, the Boston backups win means a couple of different things: Bruins opponents will be seeing much more of the School Bus yellow goaltending pads Turco had custom-made and Tim Thomas will be getting ample rest down the stretch.
This is only the first full game with us and he didnt play much before. Hes practiced hard for the last few weeks . . . really hard. Hes put in the time, said Claude Julien. It was nice to see him get rewarded with a solid effort.
Turco has redeemed himself for monumentally stubbing his toe against the Lightning and even managed to hold onto his stick for 60 minutes against an NHL opponent with some legitimate weapons. Now the aged goaltender will go about doing his job for the rest of the regular season knowing that there is no playoff rainbow at the end of the journey for him.
This is a tight-knit group that makes you feel comfortable. You can see why they win given the way they handle themselves in the locker room, said Turco. Sure its a little disappointing that I wont be in the playoffs, but Ill take the bittersweet opportunity after losing during the playoffs in Europe. Right now Im back in the NHL and its a special place to be. Im thinking about that more than anything else.
With his victorious performance against the Ducks, Turco announced to everyone hes back in the NHL and ready to go.