Thornton 'could have played more' in opener

Updated: April 21, 2004, 2:41 PM ET
By Sherry Skalko | ESPN.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Joe Thornton didn't practice Thursday and he doesn't know when he will again. But one thing the Boston Bruins' injured captain does know is that he'll be in the lineup against the Montreal Canadiens again in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Friday.

Joe Thornton
Thornton

Thornton, who is suffering from an "upper-body injury" that is reportedly his ribs, played 14 minutes, 35 seconds in Wednesday's 3-0 Game 1 win. It was his first game back after suffering the injury on April 1 and missing the last two games of the regular season.

"They didn't really need me last night," Thornton said with both hands buried in the pockets of a long-sleeve zip-front sweatshirt to hide the injury. "Hopefully, tomorrow I'll only play about 15 minutes and the same kind of game as last night."

The Bruins' dominance over the Canadiens in the first two periods of Game 1 allowed coach Mike Sullivan to roll four lines and pace Thornton. With the Bruins sporting a 3-0 lead heading into the third, Thornton was used sparingly and played only 3:49.

"I could have played more," Thornton said. "In the third period it was 3-0, so there was no need for me to take a chance and reaggravate it."

Other than his ice time, Thornton showed little effects of the injury. He was 7-for-7 on faceoffs and made a pinpoint pass across the slot to Glen Murray on a thwarted 2-on-1 break. He also held his own in the corners and around the net against the Canadiens' shut-down line of Jason Ward, Joe Juneau and Steve Begin.

Thornton said he will continue to receive treatments daily, but he doesn't expect the injury to heal anytime soon.

"I was a little tentative last night, knowing the injury is still there and it's not going to go away," he said. "But as the series goes on, I'll be more comfortable dealing with the pain."

Sherry Skalko is the NHL editor for ESPN.com.

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