Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to offer his take on Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over the Rangers that gave the Bruins a 3-0 series lead.
Thornton and his teammates on the fourth line — Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell — came up big Tuesday, as they were on the ice for both of the Bruins’ goals.
“I’m lucky to play with those two guys,” Thornton said. “They’re not fourth-liners on a lot of other teams. I’m fortunate to have them with me.”
Thornton noted that all three fourth-liners could have signed elsewhere last offseason, but the Bruins kept the trio together.
“You’ve got to give Peter [Chiarelli] credit for having faith in us, bringing all three of us back,” he said. “We were all free agents at the end of the last season. I think I was the only one that got re-upped during the season. They paid a little money to keep all three of us around.
“I haven’t looked at the other fourth lines in the league, but we’re compensated pretty well as far as fourth-liners go. We’re getting some notoriety right now in the playoffs, but the team believed in us before this.”
A key moment in Tuesday’s game came when Thornton replaced Brad Marchand on the ice and confronted Derek Dorsett after Dorsett had been harassing Marchand.
“He’s doing his job,” Thornton said of Dorsett. “He got Marchy off the ice in the first period [on a penalty]. They’re both agitators. If they’re matching him against Marchy, he’s going to try and get under his skin and keep him off the ice as much as possible. Marchy’s probably been our best player in this series so far. He’s doing his job. I had to go out there and politely say that I wasn’t a fan of him being all over our star left winger.”
Thornton said he was ready to fight, but either way he wanted to send a message.
“I didn’t know [if Dorsett would fight],” Thornton said. “If he had wanted to, then I definitely would have obliged. I joked about being polite; I wasn’t going out there to ask him what dinner was later.”
Added Thornton: “It’s a job. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I was happy we got to play after that, too, that it wasn’t our last shift.”
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson, speaking with D&C earlier in the morning , said he thought Dorsett’s failure to stand up to Thornton sucked the energy out of the Rangers. Thornton didn’t necessarily agree.
“No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t put the blame on him for it,” Thornton said. “I think we maybe turned it up another level. Not so much that they got the life sucked out of them.
“I don’t know how to say this without sounding cocky: If I’m asking to fight, it’s not going to be an easy fight for him, either. Not that I’m saying I could beat him up. I’m just saying it won’t be an easy fight, and that might have taken the life out of everyone, too. Or it might have gotten my team going even more. I don’t know. You can never I guess speculate on what was going to happen in different situations.”
The Rangers power play has been unsuccessful in 10 opportunities this series, including two chances Tuesday night.
“Our PK coach, Doug Houda, does a really good job preparing our guys,” Thornton said. “We actually make fun of him a little bit in the room because he’s always walking around with a laptop showing people different things. It seems like he has 15 PK meetings day. We give him a hard time.
“You know what, they’ve got some skilled guys over there. They’re getting a couple of chances, but I think our guys have been doing a really good job of reacting properly.”
Thornton does not expect the Rangers to lay down in Thursday’s Game 4.
“We’ve got to come out strong,” Thornton said. “We say it all the time: The fourth one’s the hardest one to win. There’s a reason for that. Their backs are going to be up against the wall. They’re going to want to play it one game at a time, starting with the next one. So, we’re going to have to bring everything we can in the first period, hopefully get out in front of them.”