Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Bruins appeared to be in control for much of the game, but Thornton said there was no overconfidence heading into OT.
“I was actually thinking that we’ve hit a lot of posts tonight,” Thornton recalled. “I don’t know how many times you’ve seen it where you have that many chances to win and then all of a sudden they come down the other way and pop one. We talked about it, we wanted to come out in overtime and put the pedal down. They’re a good team, so you can’t give them any reason to get going.”
Added Thornton: “I thought it was pretty even until overtime. We stepped it up. I liked that pretty much all the guys were going last night. We didn’t have any passengers. It’s been a while since we’ve had everyone, all lines going. That was positive.”
Brad Marchand, who left the team’s morning skate with an apparent injury, bounced back with a strong game and scored the winner in overtime — something Thornton said he predicted.
“That was his best game last night of the playoffs,” Thornton said. “I told him it was such. I actually called him in between the third and overtime for scoring — I was very psychic, obviously. He played really well. He wants to do better. He’s a competitor, you can tell. His whole life, everyone has told him he’s too short, too whatever. He wants to win. It was good to see him get back to those ways last night, that’s for sure.”
The Bruins were playing without three injured defensemen, but young blueliners Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug came through with solid performances.
“They were really good,” Thornton said. “I thought maybe one of them out of the three might have had some jitters — no one in particular. I saw Bart and Dougie in Game 7, and they were both spectacular in Game 7, too. But Kruger’s first game in a while, he scores a huge goal. I think his first shift he had a couple of plays where he skated out of the zone, and I think that settled him down. I think all three of them were unbelievable back there last night. A little — I don’t want to say surprised, because I’ve seen them all play, and I know they’re very capable of playing in those games. But you’re right, when it’s your first playoff game or your second playoff game, you could have those jitters, and they didn’t. They were unbelievable.”
On his pep talk to Tyler Seguin during the third period of Monday night’s Game 7 win over the Maple Leafs: “I can’t really go into what was said; I like to leave that stuff in the dressing room. There were a couple of plays in the third period where I thought he could have been better. I voiced my concern on those certain plays and told him that the time was now to redeem himself and try to win it for us. He’s got that talent, he’s got those capabilities that he can take that puck and put the team on his shoulders. It was a little talk, and he responded in overtime. He was a big reason we scored that goal.”
On if Seguin’s struggles of late are due to his effort: “Not effort. I think he’s trying. He’s got 35 shots on net, he’s a little bit snakebitten now. He was pretty good on the power play last night. He had a lot of looks, a lot of chances, he was making plays, he was getting pucks back. I know he’s getting a lot of criticism, but I thought last night was one of his better games in the last little bit. He was skating, getting in on pucks and battling. When you’re in a slump, you’ve got to do those little things to get you through. I know, because I’ve been in like a 16-year slump.”
On the strong play from the Bruins’ fourth line: “We take pride in our game, we talk about it before the game that we want to be significant out there. We’re playing against a pretty good fourth line on the other side, too. They’ve got Brad Richards — I think he’s making $10 million, but for whatever reason he’s playing against us. … We have to be careful. We know that the more time we can spend in the offensive zone, the better for us. He’s a dangerous guy. You don’t want to be playing in your end, playing with fire too much, either.”
On the Bruins hitting so many posts: “We’re getting our chances. You can look at it either way. When I hit them, I’m very deflated. But when other people are hitting them, I’m just like, ‘Ah, they’re going to go in eventually.’ It’s good that we’re getting those chances. It means we’re doing things right. With a little luck here or there they could go in. But we’ve been on the other side, too, had some posts hit and they didn’t go in. There’s nothing you can do about it, except I try and focus on the positives most times.”
On if he expects a better performance from Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist going forward: “I’m sure. He’s been up for the Vezina every year for the last 10 years. I think he’s unbelievable. I’m sure he’ll be bringing his A game on Sunday afternoon and from there on in.”
On the TD Garden crowd not being as loud: “In warmup I think they forgot to turn the music on. I could barely hear it. So I think that might have something to do with it. I don’t think they really got the crowd going. It won’t be as loud as an overtime in Game 7. I want Rene Rancourt to get the fans singing again. I kind of liked when they were singing the national anthem. That got everyone going. That gets everyone into it.”
On his plans for Friday: “I think we’re just taking today to get some rest again. Because it’s been such a grind the last month or so, we’re getting as much rest as possible. We have today off. I probably won’t get off my couch, probably going to watch some golf this afternoon.”
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