Shawn Thornton was the only Bruin without a point before last night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Thornton broke his scoreless streak in the late going, storming in for two goals in a 27-second span, but it was too late to prevent the Bruins from taking a 3-2 loss.
"It's a good feeling, obviously, if you score, but it would be nicer if we could have won," said Thornton, who had his first multiple-goal game in the NHL. "It's nice to get the monkey off my back but it's all for naught. I'd feel a lot better if we got the 2 points."
Thornton, playing his 32d game for the Bruins, launched a shot over Cam Ward's glove at 14:50 of the final period, then pounced after a shot had slid under and behind Ward at 15:17. The goals restored the Bruins' hope, but the Hurricanes maintained their composure and held off the rally.
"He shot the puck at the net," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Thornton's first goal. "When you throw the puck at the net, you never know."
Thornton last scored Feb. 7, 2007 for Anaheim in a game against San Jose, five months before joining the Bruins as a free agent, and had four career goals before last night.
"The first one was fluky, but everyone is entitled to a fluky one," Thornton said. "The second one, he didn't know it was behind him and I jumped on it."
But that type of opportunism was missing from the Bruins' play for most of the contest. They were a half-step behind the Hurricanes for nearly the entire game. When the Bruins did pressure Ward, rebounds were cleared.
When Carolina's Sergei Samsonov lost possession, giving the Bruins' Glen Metropolit a breakaway, Ward made the save.
And when the Hurricanes had chances, they made them count. They either sent shots past Boston goalie Alex Auld or redirected the puck past him with their skates.
Carolina got two first-period goals from Andrew Ladd and one from Samsonov in the second.
"Not to take anything away from them, but it was more what we didn't do," said Thornton. "We weren't desperate enough and they were desperate. We didn't play hard enough.
"I don't think it was anyone in particular, but everyone's got to do it. We have to have all 20 guys playing hard to be successful.
"We've got to want to work, to play desperate, to play with an edge. We can't be comfortable, we've got to play harder."
The Bruins seemed to be doing just that in the final period, shifting into another gear late.
"It's a spark when anybody gets a goal, more so me," Thornton said. "But we've got to figure out a way to play that way for 60 minutes. Everyone knew we had to get it into gear when we were down, 3-0. No one is going to do it for us.
"It's coming down to crunch time and everyone is gearing up for the playoffs. If we're going to get to the playoffs, we've got to be rolling."
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org