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Thornton dishes off some praise

In return, Murray on receiving end

NEW YORK -- The Bruins' dynamic duo of center Joe Thornton and right wing Glen Murray hasn't missed a beat.

They each had strong performances in the Bruins' 6-2 victory over the New York Islanders Saturday night at Manchester, N.H., with Murray notching two goals and Thornton a pair of assists.

Although they hadn't played together since April 2004, the pair looked comfortable with each other Saturday. They both took yesterday off as their teammates lost, 4-2, to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Thornton had skated in two previous exhibition games, but Murray, who was sidelined by an ankle injury suffered at the start of training camp, didn't get into the lineup until Saturday.

''He's got a hard shot and he's tough to cover," said Thornton. ''He's my go-to guy. He looked great. A lot of guys said he was going to be tired, but he looked great and felt great on the bench, no huffing and puffing, so he did good. I was impressed."

There was a little rust to be chipped off, understandably, but their chemistry is evident.

''We've only practiced not even a handful of times yet," said Thornton. ''It's just nice seeing him back there. It's been a long time since we've played together, so it's nice to pick up where we left off."

Murray said the ankle held up well, although his conditioning is a little bit behind.

''The foot felt not too bad," he said. ''It was just getting out there and playing an actual game. I guess it doesn't mean a lot but it does, just to get the kinks out and get back playing a game. [The ankle] is getting there. It's real close but I think it just takes time.

We haven't played with each other for 16 months so it's just one of those things we have. He knows where I'm going to go and I know where he's going to go. We were a little rusty, there were a couple of little plays that if we were 10 games in, we'll connect, but it's all right. We'll get those out of the way."

No Boynton news

Nothing new has happened on the Nick Boynton front, general manager Mike O'Connell reported. The defenseman, a restricted free agent, remains home in Ontario and the GM said the stalemate continues. ''We're where we want to be," said O'Connell. ''We think we're being very fair with respect to what we've offered and that's it." Boynton and his agent, Anton Thun, disagree . . . Against the Islanders Saturday, netminder Hannu Toivonen had 23 saves in his first full contest. He faced nine New York power plays, allowing only one goal on the man advantage. ''Obviously, it's been kind of a long time since I've played 60 minutes," said Toivonen. ''It was nice to play and get back to work again. It's way easier to prepare and get a good feeling for the game [when you start]. It's easier than coming in for the third. [The Islanders] had some power plays over there but they really didn't have huge chances. Most of the shots were from the point. Thanks to the guys playing in front of me, it made my job easier." Tim Thomas got the call for the start of yesterday's game.

A tired display

The Bruins were playing their fifth exhibition game in six days and it showed as they dropped the 4-2 decision to the Rangers yesterday. The Bruins had a 2-0 lead in the first, outshooting the Rangers, 14-2. Jiri Slegr converted on the power play at 6:26 and Patrice Bergeron scored at even strength at 15:34. They had a chance for more when Zdenek Blatny was awarded a penalty shot at 17:33 after he was hauled down in front by defenseman Maxim Kondratiev, but his forehand bid through goalie Kevin Weekes's pads was denied. The second period was a different story, as the Bruins looked weary and the Rangers roared back to go up, 3-2. Jaromir Jagr, Martin Rucinsky, and Martin Straka scored for New York. The Straka goal was particularly painful as it came with only 1.3 seconds left in the period. Straka stripped the puck from Hal Gill and beat Thomas through the 5-hole. Jagr tallied his second of the night late in the third to close it out . . . Left wing Eric Healey, who was a fan favorite during his two years as a Manchester Monarch, received a warm welcome at the Verizon Wireless Arena Saturday. Healey, who played for that AHL club in 2001-02 and 2002-03, had his own cheering section behind the penalty boxes. His fans wore white T-shirts decorated with Healey's name. Healey, who played his third exhibition game yesterday, had a goal in each of his first two and an assist yesterday. He said it was special to score one in his former home building. ''I had two great years [in Manchester]," said Healey, who is from Hull, Mass. . . . Goaltender Dan Blackburn, 22, taken with the No. 10 selection in the 2001 entry draft, has retired because of nerve damage in his left shoulder, the Rangers announced . . . The Bruins won't practice today. They are scheduled to play in a golf tournament at Ipswich Country Club.

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