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Bruins notebook

Rookie picked the right spot

All-Star break is at good time

By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / January 22, 2009
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TORONTO - Martin St. Pierre isn't the best in Black and Gold when it comes to the shootout drill.

"I've only got two or three shots," said Boston's humble rookie center. "And our goalies usually stop them, because they know what I'm going to do with it. But that's OK, because I get to practice it, and if I see a spot in a game, then I feel like I can score."

St. Pierre saw the spot last night, calmly snapping in a short-range forehander to keep Boston's hope alive in the shootout and set the stage for the next Bruins shooter, Michael Ryder, to win it with a forehand roof shot.

St. Pierre, one of the many call-ups in a time when the Boston roster has been riddled with injuries, connected right after Jason Blake provided Toronto with a 2-1 lead in the extra session. Had Vesa Toskala turned back St. Pierre, it would have been the Leafs walking out of the Air Canada Centre with the 4-3 win. Instead, St. Pierre's shot inside the left post kept things tied, and moments later Ryder's winner had the Bruins swashbuckling their way to the airport.

"It's what you live for in this game, doing things under pressure," said St. Pierre. "And I'm glad I was under pressure and got it done. I never shot against Toskala before, so he doesn't know how I use my stick. I see a hole like that, I shoot. I'm not a top-shelf guy, but I'm OK if I pick my spot like that."

Burns in cancer fight
Pat Burns, the last Bruins coach to win a playoff round (1999), is battling cancer again, for the third time in less than five years. He told Montreal's La Presse that he was informed he had lung cancer after returning from the World Hockey Championship last spring.

Burns has undergone chemotherapy twice but, according to La Presse, has chosen not to go that route this time. He told the newspaper he will try other methods to battle the disease.

Burns, 56, was first diagnosed with colon cancer in the spring of 2004. Doctors discovered he had liver cancer in 2005. Burns was an NHL head coach for 14 seasons, including stints with the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Bruins, and Devils. He guided the Devils to a Stanley Cup victory in 2003, and won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year three times (Canadiens 1988-89, Maple Leafs 1992-93, and Bruins 1997-98).

He's on target
Ryder led Boston with five shots on net, matched by Toronto's Blake . . . Aaron Ward made it through the night, returning from a short stay on the sidelines with a nagging charley horse. He picked up an assist and registered four hits, which equaled Vladimir Sobotka for high on the Boston side. Rookie defenseman Luke Schenn led Toronto with four hits . . . The Leafs committed 18 giveaways, to only four by the Bruins. Many of those were in the third period . . . Despite the win, Dennis Wideman, Chuck Kobasew, Matt Hunwick, and Sobotka all finished minus-2 . . . Bruins coach Claude Julien is hopeful that Milan Lucic (shoulder) and Andrew Ference (tibia) will be able to return to the lineup next week. Lucic was headed to Montreal to play in the YoungStars game, but his injury forced him to withdraw from All-Star weekend. Montreal goalie Carey Price will fill his spot.

Thomas gets call
Tim Thomas made his sixth straight start in the Boston net. The Bruins say Manny Fernandez is ready to go, but it's likely that Thomas started Monday and last night to allow Fernandez some extra time to get healthy . . . The Bruins were scheduled to land at Hanscom Field in Bedford early this morning. They won't convene again until a 2 p.m. practice Monday in Wilmington . . . Headed to Montreal: Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara, along with Julien and Thomas for the All-Star Game. Blake Wheeler will be in the YoungStars game.

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