BOSTON -- The Bruins didnt want any extracurricular activities in a regular season finale that had no meaning for either them or the Buffalo Sabres.
But Buffalo defenseman Robyn Regehr was playing like it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals during the first period anyway. The notoriously tough customer blocked five shots in the first 20 minutes and he was hacking and whacking away at Bruins players including a cross-check on Shawn Thornton.
In the perfect example of the understated role that Thornton sometimes plays on the Bs team, the Bs enforcer took it upon himself to send a message to Regehr that he was looking for all of his Bruins teammates to remain healthy for the playoffs. So Thornton dropped the gloves and floored Regehr with an overhand right to the Buffalo defensemans face.
There wasnt another incident with any Sabres players during the 4-3 shootout win.
I think it was great to see that character coming back in the last game of the season and feeling good about the way we finished heading into next week, said Patrice Bergeron. I think we are happy with it and we found a win.
Credit Thornton with some of the character and the burning deep desire they found to get the win.
Thats the kind of intimidation and order that Thornton brings to the games style when he is out on the ice in his fourth line role, and that hockey fight also just so happened to pull Thornton into a tie with Brandon Prust for the NHL lead with 20 fights this season. Thornton said it was no big deal after getting into 21 fights a few seasons ago, but the timing and message sent certainly made it a big deal.
I hadnt planned on dropping the gloves tonight. It was no big deal to me either way, but Regehr hit me a couple of times so I assumed that he had something he wanted to take care of, said Thornton. Theres no need for the cross-checks when were just trying to stay healthy and get ready for the playoffs.
Thornton made sure of that on Saturday afternoon, and now everybody leaves that game healthy looking forward to the playoffs next week.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while prepping for Claude Bowl II.
*It’s going to be a robust trade market for defensemen with names such as Jack Johnson, Dion Phaneuf and Oliver Ekman-Larsson highlighting the group that’s available. Paul Martin will be in that select company if he clears through waivers and perhaps Niklas Hjalmarsson will as well with many teams holding D-men they’re willing to part with.
*The Buffalo Sabres apparently want four assets in any deal for rental Evander Kane that includes a draft pick, a prospect and an NHL roster player, and it’s hard to believe anybody is going to do that for a perennial underachiever who's never even scored 60 points in a season before.
*A tough end to the Andrew Cogliano iron-man streak as he’s been suspended for a couple of games after an incident last weekend.
*Brent Burns is the envy of many blueliners around the league because of his hard, accurate shot, which isn’t scoring him as many goals this season
*Year-round Las Vegas resident Deryk Engelland has been rewarded for being a member of the Golden Knights with a one-year contract extension.
*It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have got Shayne Gostisbehere thinking more about defense after some up-and-down moments last season in his sophomore effort.
*For something completely different: A profile on a UFC champion and a firefighter all at the same time. Sounds like an interesting dude.
BRIGHTON, Mass – Noel Acciari was in and out of the Bruins lineup in the Monday afternoon loss to the Dallas Stars with an upper-body injury and the fourth-line grinder was missing from the practice ice on Tuesday as well.
Acciari has been able to stay healthy the past few months while helping to establish Boston’s fourth line and has added to his hard-hitting style of play with six goals in 28 games this season.
But there's been a litany of injuries the past few seasons given the physical pounding the 5-foot-10, 208-pounder takes given his rugged style of play. This current injury limited him to just 6:05 of ice time in an overtime loss to the Stars. Still, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was optimistic that Acciari would be able to suit up against the Canadiens on Wednesday night in Claude Julien’s return to TD Garden.
“Jake DeBrusk was under the weather and so was Kevan Miller, so they stayed home,” said Cassidy of Acciari, who has missed 14 games this season mainly due to a broken finger suffered blocking a shot on opening night. “Noel Acciari has a bit of an upper-body injury and it affected his minutes [Monday vs. Dallas]. He’s kind of day-to-day. I suspect that he would play tomorrow, but we’ll have a better idea on [Wednesday] morning.”
Both DeBrusk and Miller are expected to be fine to play against the Habs in their rematch from last weekend this time on Boston's home ice. Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the players that were on the ice for Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena: