Bruins & Stars rumbled/By S. Bradley

This post is part of a series looking back at the top 10 games of the Bruins’ 2010-11 regular season. 

At first glance, it looked like just another mid-winter Thursday night day with a non-descript Sunbelt team when the Bruins took the ice Feb. 3.

Just one second after the puck dropped, we learned that the Dallas Stars first visit to the TD Garden since 2008 was going to be anything but non-descript.

Gregory Campbell started  a string of three fights in four seconds of game time by avenging a Steve Ott hit from several years ago with some fists of fury off the opening faceoff, and the Bruins never looked back after grabbing a 4-0 first-period lead.

Boston’s 6-3 win over the Stars was a galvanizing evening for the eventual Stanley Cup champions — one that earns its spot at No. 5 on the list of the Bruins’ best games of the 2010-11 season as picked by TheBruinsBlog.net.

Campbell was bloodied early but stuck it out to give Ott his punishment. One second later, Shawn Thornton wrecked Krys Barch and then two seconds later Adam McQuaid knocked down Brian Sutherby.

The team’s briefly turned to hockey long enough for Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron to score goals at 0:35 and 1:20, respectively. But when Adam Burish fired a puck at Tuukka Rask after a whistle signaling an offside call, Andrew Ference took exception and pummeled the Dallas forward.

Bergeron added a second goal and Shawn Thornton also scored before the period was out.

The Stars scored the next three goals, including one early in the third period when physical fireworks went off again. Daniel Paille, no one’s idea of a “Mr. Mean,” leveled Dallas rookie Raymond Sawada with what was ruled an illegal check to the head. The Stars didn’t score on their five-minute power play, but added two goals early in the third period to cut the lead to 4-3.

Rookie Tyler Seguin then gave the Bruins some breathing room at 5:31 of the third with a one-timer from the top of the right circle off a dish by Blake Wheeler. Brad Marchand added the empty-net goal and Tuukka Rask finished with 30 saves, including a point-blank stop on Loui Eriksson during that Paille major penalty.

Paille was suspended three games by the NHL, and the Bruins lost four of their next five games. But there were bonds forged that night against Dallas that helped the Bruins build a championship-caliber chemistry and makes it that much more exciting that the Bruins will visit Dallas this coming Dec. 31.