Bruins show fire in win over Thrashers, 4-1

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Bruins show fire in win over Thrashers, 4-1

By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Shawn Thornton started the night off with a fight, and he ended it with two goals.

These Bruins needed everything he provided.

Having lost four of their last five games, and coming off a stale 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night, the Bs were in a position in which they had to show both passion and scoring.

They provided both on Thursday night at the TD Garden, defeating the Atlanta Thrashers 4-1, in a game that saw a whole lot more intensity out of the Bruins than Monday night. "These situations always bond and bring teams even closer together its a good feeling," said Zdeno Chara. "When you can rely on each other in situations like this there is nothing better than that."

Thornton started the game by dropping the gloves with Eric Boulton off the opening faceoff, and he gave the Bs a 3-0 lead, five minutes into the second period, sniping the top-right corner with a one-timer from the right circle. He added another, five minutes into the third, finishing a pretty 2-on-1 pass from Daniel Paille, which gave the Bruins a 4-1 lead.

Patrice Bergeron got the scoring started three minutes into the first period, and 13 seconds into a Thrashers power play. Bergeron skated towards a loose puck along the left wing in the neutral zone, and came in all alone, beating Atlanta goaltender Ondrej Pavelec with a deke to the right.

Michael Ryder gave Boston a 2-0 lead 56 seconds before Thornton made it 3-0. Ryder scored his goal on the power play, after he took the puck at the right half-wall, looked pass, but decided to step out and shoot, beating Pavelec low and to the left.

After Thornton scored his sixth goal of the season tying his career single-season high Atlanta cut the Bruins lead to 3-1 midway through the second period, after he beat Tim Thomas five-hole with a weak backhander while coming hard to the net from the left wing.

But it wasnt enough, and Thornton added the dagger, in the opening minutes of the third, with his second goal of the game.

And the Bruins werent done there. With 4:06 left in the game, an absolute melee took place in Atlantas zone, as Andrew Ference attacked Freddy Meyer after Meyer knocked Milan Lucic to the ground with a hard hit at the blue line.

Ference quickly reacted, threw the gloves in the air, went after Meyer, and all 10 skaters on the ice went at it, ending Thursday night with exactly what the Bruins needed. GOLD STAR: Shawn Thornton, plain and simple. Emotion, leadership and putting his body on the line for the team. He made a big statement right off the hop with a prolonged, epic hockey fight with Eric Boulton, and then scored a pair of goals to help push the Bruins to a needed victory over the Atlanta Thrashers. Thornton has a career-high seven goals on the season, and has already given everything the Bruins could possibly hope for. The Bruins crowd chanted We Want Thornton in the third period trying to will the Bs enforcer to a real hat trick rather than the Gordie Howe variety but he was denied on a couple of prime attempts.BLACK EYE: Andrew Ference, who literally had a bruised and bloodied right eye after standing up for Milan Lucic when he was slammed up high with an elbow from Freddy Meyer. Ference didnt hesitate to immediately jump into the fray in his teammates defense, and was the victim of an Anthony Stewart cheap shot at the bottom of the pile as a line brawl broke out between the Bs and Thrashers. Ference has consistently stood up and defended his teammates through his Bruins career no matter how big or strong the opponent and he did that again on Thursday night. "Andrew has done that many times. You know, I think if you recall whether it was Dallas when they were in and tried to do the same thing...hes been good," said Claude Julien. "Hes a good team man and hes always there for his teammates. That to me is not surprising. Youve seen other guys do the same thing and obviously our guys stood together there at the end and did what they had to do."TURNING POINT: Shawn Thorntons fight got the juices flowing with the Bruins in the opening seconds of the game, but it might have been for naught had the Bs not responded on the scoreboard. Patrice Bergeron has flipped a switch in the last three games, and that continued with a short-handed beauty of a score just three minutes into the first period on an Atlanta power play.BY THE NUMBERS: 7 the number of goals that Shawn Thornton has this season after a two-goal effort against the Thrashers. The game was clearly one of the best of Thorntons career, and was another one in a 2010-11 NHL season thats looking more and more like a career campaign for the Bs enforcer.QUOTE TO NOTE: It was a high hit for sure. I was bleeding from the lip and after a hit like thatI mean that was the second time Meyer has done that. Hes hit me late. Hes hit me cheap. Now thats the second time. I mean, you cant give a guy a free pass too many times, but Im happy that we stuck together as a group and as a team. You say you havent seen it in a while. Milan Lucic talking about the Freddy Meyer elbowing hit that precipitated a team-wide line brawl by the Bruins and Thrashers in the closing minutes of the third period. Lucic could be facing some NHL scrutiny after earning a match penalty in the scrum following Meyer's hit on him.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

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Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.

 

Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

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Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

Click here for the gallery.

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen exploded into a high-profile prospect for the Bruins after finishing among the NCAA’s top scoring players a couple of years ago as a freshman along with a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin. 

Since then, Heinen has continued to produce offense at the University of Denver and continued to create offense that leads to points. Now, the 21-year-old Heinen will be entering the professional arena for his first full season with the Bruins and he’ll be attempting to transition from the prospect phase to a regular gig in the NHL. That’s the challenge for a talented player who appears headed into a very good opportunity in NHL training camp.

 

What happened last year

Heinen was every bit as explosive in his second season for Denver as he was in his brilliant freshman campaign. He improved on his scoring with 20 goals and 48 points in 41 games. Then Heinen signed with the Bruins at the end of his sophomore season and played in a couple of pro games in the AHL with Providence as a tune-up for this first full pro campaign with the Bruins organization. Heinen finished with two assists and a plus-1 rating in four games with the P-Bruins and showed the coaches in Providence that he was ready to play and produce with more talented players. If Heinen surprised a little bit as a breakout freshman two years ago, his sophomore follow-up in Denver last season proved to everybody that he wasn’t a fluke.

 

Questions to be answered this season

The real question surrounding Heinen is about his ceiling as an NHL player and just how good he can become as a player with the skills and playmaking abilities to be a top-six forward. He’s proven he can dominate at the collegiate level while admittedly playing with some pretty good teammates at Denver. Heinen showed at the end of the season in Providence that the pro scene might not be much different for him. At this point, Heinen simply needs to go out and prove it against the best players in the world and show that his speed, playmaking and hockey sense are all elite in the AHL or NHL. Heinen’s biggest obstacle might be his size. He'll need to survive as a targeted skill player despite not being much more than the 6-feet, 180-pound range for a forward. It’s about average for a playmaking wing in the NHL, but the hits and attention will be at a much more intense level than anything he faced in the NCAA world.

 

What they're saying

“He’s the type of player that he can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ and he’s got really good skill. I think anywhere you put him, he’s smart enough to figure it out. I think you’ll notice him during training camp. It will definitely be up to him, but I think he’ll push some guys.” –Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo on Heinen during last month’s development camp where Heinen soared as a performer.

 
Outlook

While Heinen still has some things he’ll need to prove before he’s a regular contributor for the Bruins, he comes into the Boston fold as an experienced player following two very good seasons at the college level. So, Heinen should be a little closer to plug-and-play for Claude Julien than some of the other young players that have come through the system in the past couple of years. Heinen will still need to flash in camp while being handed a big spot to perform with high-end veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand potentially off playing in the World Cup of Hockey. Heinen also has a much greater chance of winning an NHL job sooner rather than later after the Bruins lost out on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and still have a top-six forward opening that somebody is going to fill. Heinen and Frank Vatrano are the two biggest favorites to fill that position, which became vacant when Loui Eriksson departed for Vancouver. Whichever winger loses that battle should be also be a strong candidate for a role on the third line, as well, barring any late veteran signings by the B’s. That set of circumstances leaves a very good situation for Heinen to potentially walk into with the Black and Gold, but he'll still have to show he’s fully capable of seizing his good fortune and good timing. 

Bruins’ new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility to open Sept. 8.

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Bruins’ new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility to open Sept. 8.

The Bruins’ new practice facility has been years in the making and they will finally get to officially open the doors to Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton next month. 

The B’s players will start informal captain’s practice skates at the new facility on the New Balance property in these final days of August, but the team announced on Friday that the new facility will be officially opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, team president Cam Neely, general manager Don Sweeney and a number of players will be on hand for the opening ceremony and ensuing open house for the media. Also planning to attend from New Balance will be Owner and Chairman Jim Davis and NB Development Group LLC Managing Director Jim Halliday, along with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. 

Following the formal portion of the event, Warrior Ice Arena will host the “Boston Youth All-Star Game featuring Bruins Alumni” which will feature local squirt players from the Boston communities of Allston-Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Hyde Park, South Boston and West Roxbury mixed in with members of the Bruins alumni. 

The Youth All-Stars will team with Bruins alumni and they will play the first official game before the ice is turned over to the current Bruins players for their training camp later in the month.

The Warrior Ice Arena gets its name from the Warrior brand of hockey equipment that is now a division of New Balance and comes with a 79-foot high Warrior hockey stick that greets visitors at the front entrance doors.

Warrior Ice Arena will be the B’s new and permanent practice home after the Bruins spent 25-plus years practicing in the suburbs of Boston at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.