February 3, 2011

Bruins a united bunch in wild win over Stars

The B's tallied four times in the first period to take command of the game early on against the Stars. (Getty)

BOSTON -- Following a raucous 6-3 win over the Stars, the buzzword inside the Bruins locker room was unity. Given what happened, it's hard to blame them.

 Thursday's tilt opened with perhaps the most jam-packed 1:20 of action anyone has ever  witnessed at TD Garden.

 By the time the clock had wound down to 19:56, there had already been three separate fights. Just 76 ticks later, the B's led 2-0 and Stars starter Andrew Raycroft was headed for the showers.

 "Well I think last time they came in here, it was a bit of a rough game, and thought maybe they wanted to set the tone again and try and intimidate us a bit," winger Brad Marchand said, referencing a memorable, fight-filled visit by the Stars back in November of 2008. "But I think it worked in our favor."

 Playing the Stars at home seems to be quickly becoming the ultimate team-building exercise for the Black and Gold. After the last time the two teams met in Boston, the B's went on a remarkable run that saw them lose just twice in regulation in over two months.

 "We know they’re a physical team and we knew that heading into the game," Patrice Bergeron, who scored two goals on the night, said. "We wanted to obviously respond and show it’s our building and we wanted to be physical. I mean it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be fights, but it happened that way and our guys did a great job responding and doing that, but also I think the team had to respond for these guys that chipped in and fought with goals and I think we did that also."

 With Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Adam McQuaid having already dropped the gloves, Andrew Ference joined their ranks after a late shot was sent Tuukka Rask's way after a whistle. Bergeron admired the blueliner's quick response, as Ference pummeled Adam Burish.

 "We’re a tight group," Bergeron said. "We’ve always said that and we all know that. We get along real well off the ice and we try to bring that on the ice. I think that Ference's fight is the best example, just by showing that he took a shot after the whistle on Tuukka and Andy responded right away. It showed our unity, and we got to keep going."

 Campbell, who wasn't around for the full-fledged brawl that broke out between the two clubs a few seasons ago, drew comparisons to a win over the Thrashers back in December that played out in a similar fashion.

 "Well for us it was kind of like the Atlanta game, it was an emotional game for us," Campbell said of his team's win over the Thrashers on Dec. 23. "We came out hard and we set the tone early and I think that’s what this hockey team is capable of, is playing physical but also we have the ability to score."

 And thanks to a strong bond both on an off the ice, they're all ready, willing and able to stand up for one another at a moment's notice.

 "Yeah, I mean you have to have that," Zdeno Chara said when asked about the oft-mentioned unity his squad displayed on Thursday night.

 "How can you be a team on the ice when you’re not a team off the ice? We try to really keep it really tight and close in the locker room. Obviously it’s something that we carry on the ice. We just stick together and play as a team."