Bruins winger Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning, with the B’s hours away from hosting the Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Despite the Bruins’ domination in their 2-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday night, Thornton said his team is not overconfident.
“It’s just one game,” he said. “We played pretty well last game. [But] we had some frustration, too. We took a few penalties and we had some emotions at the end, too. So, it could have went either way. We just were fortunate enough that Tuukka [Rask] stood on his head and got us that shutout. To say that we’re in control I think is a little bit of a stretch at this point in the series.”
The Blackhawks were never more inept than when on the power play, as the Bruins stopped all five opportunities (allowing just four shots) and had better scoring chances shorthanded.
“They have pretty dangerous players over there,” Thornton said. “Our PK has done a very good job so far. But when I was in [penalty box] last game for two minutes, I was sweating the whole time hoping that my penalty wasn’t the reason they scored.
“They were missing [Marian] Hossa, one of their best players, last game. I don’t know what happened to him. But he’s back tonight, as far as I know. I think it will be a little bit of a different game tonight.”
The Bruins have demonstrated a solid team approach, committing to coach Claude Julien‘s defense-oriented system. Asked who the most important Bruin is, Thornton said newcomer Jaromir Jagr deserves credit for adjusting his game to fit the B’s style.
“Everyone has to buy in for us to be successful,” Thornton said. “The most impressive is probably I’d say Jagr, being that he just got here. I don’t know a whole lot about where he was before this — other than what you read on paper, and everyone knows — but I’m pretty sure that he’s pretty used to doing his own thing out there, and it’s worked out pretty well for him the last 22 years. He comes in here and he’s backchecking and finishing checks and battling on pucks. That’s pretty impressive when you’ve been doing something one way for 21 years and now you’re told you’re going to do it this way if you want to have success, and he’s bought in.
“The other guys, top to bottom, the whole time I’ve been here, it starts with those big boys. Then the little guys like myself have to fall in line and follow the system or else you’re not around. So, I think all the way throughout it’s been pretty good.”
Patrice Bergeron has stepped into the national spotlight with his all-around play in this series, something Thornton noted is long overdue.
“I think he’s finally getting his due,” Thornton said. “We’ve appreciated him in that room for the last five, six years that I’ve been here. He’s so good defensively. And the players he plays with — this isn’t taking anything away from [Tyler Seguin] or [Brad Marchand] when they’re together, or Jags and Marchy now, but if you put another centerman in between them, I’m not sure if they’re as successful in their own zone. He does a lot of things to cover up — not cover up, but he’s in the position to let them maybe take advantage a little bit more offensively, because he’s so good at being in the right spot and making sure that he’s behind you 100 percent defensively.”
Added Thornton: “On the other side of the puck he doesn’t get enough credit, how good he is offensively. He’s finally starting to get some due because he’s scored some timely goals for us in the playoffs. But when we skate with him in the offseason and in training camp and on a daily basis, the things you see him do with the puck, and how strong he is on it and how quick he is, there’s not too many guys that can control it like him.”
To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.