BOSTON – Mark Recchi has 576 goals, 956 assists and one more objective before he retires.
“I’m hoping we get on a long run, it’ll be real easy for me,” Recchi said after moving into 12th place on the NHL’s career scoring list and leading the Boston Bruins to a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. “If we win a championship, I’m gone.”
Tim Thomas stopped 32 shots for his ninth shutout of the season, and Recchi had an assist to give him 1,532 points—one more than Paul Coffey. Bruins great Ray Bourque is next at 1,579; everyone ahead of Recchi who’s been retired long enough to be eligible is in the Hall of Fame.
“It’s unbelievable if you think about it. It’s big names that he’s passing,” Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s an unbelievable amount of points.”
Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk scored two minutes 20 seconds apart in the second period to break a scoreless tie, and Recchi assisted on the second goal. Nathan Horton made it 3-0 in the third.
It was the 25th shutout of Thomas’ career, and his second in three games. He has allowed just two goals in four games to drop his league-leading goals-against average to 1.96.
“I don’t think he’s ever been bad for us this year,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “He’s been good sometimes, but he’s been great most of the time.”
Corey Crawford made 31 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who had won three of four but remained three points ahead of idle Calgary for eighth place in the Western Conference.
“Every game is a huge two points,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “You’ve got to value every two points. There’s a big premium on these points right now. We can’t be happy. We just got to be excited about Friday and move on.”
The Bruins protected their seven-point lead over Montreal atop the Northeast Division and moved three points behind the Washington Capitals in the race for the No. 2 seed in the East.
One night after an overtime victory in Detroit, the Blackhawks started slow and didn’t get off a shot for the first 7:44. It was still scoreless when the Bruins took a faceoff in the Chicago end with just over 8 minutes left in the second. The puck came out to Chara at the left point, and he wristed it past Crawford to make it 1-0.
“I don’t like to make excuses,” Chicago defenceman Brian Campbell said. “We had a big game last night. I think everybody felt great going into tonight, so I don’t really use that as an excuse. We know the situation, but we need to compete a little bit harder for pucks, win some more battles, especially early on.”
Boychuk made it 2-0 with a knuckleball that Crawford seemed to lose track of. It stayed that way until the third, when Daniel Paille chased the puck toward the corner and backhanded it through the slot to Horton, who stickhandled to Crawford’s glove side and shot the puck past him.
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton left the game with a cut after taking a skate to the head in the second period. He didn’t return.
“He took a lot of stitches, and the trainers didn’t want to take a chance,” Julien said. “Especially when you have to put a helmet on it.”
Notes: Boston’s minor league affiliate in Providence of the AHL signed 2009 third-round pick Ryan Button to an amateur tryout agreement. … It was the Bruins’ last game against the Western Conference. They finished the season 8-7-3. … Crawford made his 21st consecutive start and the first appearance of his career against the Bruins. … Horton reached 50 points for the fourth time in five seasons. … The Blackhawks lost to a Northeast Division team for the first time this season (4-1).