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Despite Loss, Thornton Packs Punch

Wednesday, 02.6.2008 / 8:50 AM ET / Features
By Angela Stefano  - BostonBruins.com
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Despite Loss, Thornton Packs Punch
Tough Start: Boston Bruins' Shawn Thornton, left, has his helmet knocked off by Buffalo Sabres Andrew Peters. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Boston, MA -- Despite a tough second and third periods and a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins packed a punch – literally – during the first period last night.

Just 5:33 into the game, B’s left-winger Shawn Thornton responded to dropped gloves from Buffalo left-winger Andrew Peters, facing off to the right of the Sabres goal.

“I was just trying to get inside and trying to get his head down,” Thornton said of his strategy.  “He’s a pretty big guy, so if he strings me out, I could be in a lot of trouble.

“I’ve got long arms, but he’s [bigger], so [I was] trying to stay more on the outside,” he said, admitting that he wasn’t thinking about what he was doing during the fight.

“It probably sounds weird compared to everyone else talking about watching fight tapes and all that stuff,” Thornton said.  “That’s not really me.  [I] just feel it out as I go.”

Despite the size difference, the Bruin got some good punches in, knocking his opponent’s helmet off and finally wrestling him to the ground before referees intervened.

Nice Finish: Boston Bruins Shawn Thornton (22) knocks Buffalo Sabres' Andrew Peters to the ice during a fight in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008 in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Thornton and Peters both earned five-minute major penalties for fighting – just an example of a player taking one for the team.

“We were down one-nothing, [and] I thought we were a little flat at the start,” Thornton said after the game, revealing that his brawl was all carefully calculated.

“I asked him, he said sure, so I thought I’d try to get the guys going,” he explained.  “[We] just needed to get that spark.”

The B’s forward hoped he’d get the crowd into the game as well.

“There wasn’t too much noise before that,” he said, but he was pleased with the reactions afterwards.

Thornton’s penalty was just one of four for the Black & Gold during the first period, a result of a hard-hitting game during those first 20 minutes.

And while the spark didn’t last, Thornton felt that he inspired the team to “get dirty.”

“I think guys were skating and working hard.  They were a little more desperate tonight,” he said.  “We had our chances, had shots on net, and guys were getting there.

“We had guys that usually do not throw their body around getting in there.”

And even in a loss, that’s still a plus.

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