By Tony Lee
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BOSTON (Ticker) -- The formula has been simple of late for the
Boston Bruins - spot Tim Thomas a lead and fight your way to the
Thomas made 35 saves and Marco Sturm scored two goals as the
Bruins won a fight-filled affair over the Dallas Stars, 5-1, on
Patrice Bergeron, Phil Kessel and defenseman Mark Stuart also
tallied for the Bruins, who posted their biggest margin of
victory this season in winning for the fourth time in five
This contest saw a total of 36 penalties and multiple brawls
over the course of the final 40 minutes, much of it brought on
by Stars agitators Sean Avery and Steve Ott.
While admitting it was tough to keep his emotions in check,
Thomas liked the way his team responded.
"We're not going to let anybody push us around and play dirty
with us, and I think we did a good job of sticking up for
ourselves and showing what kind of character we have," Thomas
said. "I don't know what their scouting report is on us, but I
think they picked the wrong team to try to do that to."
Avery and Ott drew the ire of the Bruins all night. Avery's hit
from behind on Milan Lucic got it going early in the second, as
the two dropped their gloves 5:22 into the period.
Lucic, for his part, would not comment on the legality of the
hit. He did, however, stress the importance of his team's
ability to stand up to the Stars.
"Sometimes you have to get dirty and do things like that," Lucic
said of the fighting. "I think it was a character game and a
character win for us."
Lucic claimed it felt like a junior hockey game, while Thomas
was unable to recall a contest like that since his days in the
American Hockey League.
Avery was not offering comment after the game. He himself
served five penalties for a total of 17 minutes.
Defenseman Matt Niskanen and Krys Barch also threw punches for
the Stars, while Shawn Thornton, Marc Savard and defensemen
Shane Hnidy and Andrew Ference were among those that fought for
Dallas coach Dave Tippett said his team will undergo plenty of
"evaluation" with a handful of days off. He was not pleased
with the effort.
"It's a group effort. You win as a team and you lose as a
team," he said. "We're giving away too many opportunities, and
we have to look at our lineup and evaluate it right through."
A tight game turned quickly when Kessel scored to make it 3-1
moments before Ference delivered a crushing hit on Ott early in
the third period. Ference then fought Avery seconds later in
what Thomas said was a pivotal moment in the game.
Thomas himself had a hard time focusing after the hit raised the
"Those are some of the hardest games to play because you start
getting your adrenaline going," he said. "As a goalie, you try
to stay even-keeled. But after (Ference) made that hit and
stood up for himself, I got a little excited."
Through it all, Thomas never blinked, continuing a solid stretch
for the University of Vermont product. He recorded consecutive
1-0 victories on Boston's recent three-game road trip and held
opponents scoreless for more than 158 minutes over a three-game
stretch before a 3-2 loss in Calgary on Thursday.
Thomas allowed only a soft goal less than eight minutes in on a
wrist shot by Avery. He turned aside 21 shots in the second
period alone as Boston committed eight penalties and had to
extinguish a series of power plays for Dallas.
"That was huge, we got ourselves in penalty trouble there,"
Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I thought they did a great
job of surviving the penalties."
The Stars outshot the Bruins in the second period, 21-5.
Bergeron scored on one of those five shots to snap a 1-1 tie.
Amid 4-on-4 action, Michael Ryder took a shot that Marty Turco
knocked away. The puck bounced around before trickling to the
goaltender's right, where Bergeron pounced on it to record his
third goal of the season.
Bergeron has scored in consecutive outings for the first time
since the opening two games last campaign, not long before a
serious concussion ended his season.
Sturm scored on the Bruins' first shot of the game, firing a
one-timer past Turco off a feed from rookie Blake Wheeler for
his second goal of the campaign. Kessel netted his seventh
tally early in the third for a 3-1 bulge and Stuart notched his
first with 8:55 left to open it up.
Sturm capped the scoring with 5:43 to go, posting his first
two-goal effort since February 28.
Turco finished with 20 saves for Dallas, which was 0-for-6 on
the power play.
Afterward, he was among the many Stars lamenting a woeful
"I don't know where to start," said Turco, who has given up 11
goals in his last two games. "We need something. From my
perspective, from what I do, it seems all the time like we've
got guys trying to be goalies, trying to go out for pucks.
"It's getting old and it's disheartening. ... It's sad. It's
embarrassing. Those are the type of games that show a lot.
There's no sugar-coating anything any more."
Dallas has lost six of nine overall.