Thornton replaces Sturm

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:43 PM ET

BOSTON - Shawn Thornton is back where he belongs, but not happy how he got here.

The antagonist for the Bruins will be back on the wing for Monday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semi-final against the Philadelphia Flyers, at the expense of a season-ending knee injury to Marco Sturm.

“Reward isn’t the right word,” Thornton said after the morning skate. “He’s a teammate and a friend.”

That aside, Thornton might be the ideal addition to the ranks in what’s expected to be a more heated encounter. The Flyers started slow in Game 1, down 2-0 and played catch-up most of Saturday afternoon, before being out-played in overtime, losing 5-4. They have to stake a turf claim against a Boston team that’s bucked the trend of the 2010 playoffs and gone undefeated at home (4-0).

“I liked the up (ice) game, but not the down,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “ Knowing we were set up to play the Bruins, you go back and watch the first game again and there are areas you can improve on.”

He dismissed comments from opposite number Claude Julien that Philly defenceman Chris Pronger was taking physical liberties in Game 1.

“I thought his game was pretty clean (but) that Mark Recchi (of the Bruins) took a couple of runs at Pronger. I saw Pronger competing hard in battles and he had the altercation with Mark (it was Recchi getting an extra minor), but that’s Chris’s job, like its Zdeno Chara’s job on the other side, to try and play our skill guys with an edge.”

Enter Thornton, usually a fourth liner, but someone who can rile the Flyers. Getting the hook in Game 1 of this series for the returning Marc Savard was as tough to swallow as the local tap water, which has been declared undrinkable without prior boiling after a major city water main break on Saturday.

“Watching hockey sucks, I want to be in every series,” Thornton said. “All summer and winter long you work to get to this point. On the ice, you go with the flow, but I watched (from the press box) and almost had a heart attack.”

Thornton vowed not to go overboard.

“I don’t expect them to take stupid penalties at this time of year, nor us,” he said. “Discipline is huge in playoffs and becomes even more important coming down the stretch.”

After Thornton spoke, a forlorn Sturm came into the TD Garden interview area on bulky crutches. The 31-year-old will have right anterior cruciate ligament surgery once his medial collateral ligament heals, but will be away a total of seven to eight months. He had the same mishap with his left knee in December of 2008.

“I could hear right away a big pop...I heard it before and knew right away that it’s going to be the same thing,” Sturm said of pushing off to hit Philly’s Matt Carle on his first shift in Game 1. “It was just unexpected, too fast after the last one. (The right leg) was stiff as a rock, it got even stronger, because I had to do a lot of things on it. “It’s a tough one, but I always came back from big injuries and I’m going to do it again.”

Defenceman Mark Stuart also practiced with the Bruins for the first time in weeks as he recovers from an infection from finger surgery. As was the case with Savard’s Grade 2 concussion, Stuart’s is suddenly accelerating his comeback.

“Things are obviously looking more on the positive side,” Julien said. “But we’ll stay realistic. I wouldn’t write off (Stuart playing sometime in this series), but you don’t want to be making a comment that can backfire on you.”


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