BOSTON -- Bruins veteran winger Shawn Thornton predicted it. He said that he and his linemates -- Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell -- had been creating plenty of chances lately and it would pay off in this series.
“We’re due. I’m telling you, we’ve been getting lots of chances and we’re gonna get one soon,” Thornton said Saturday after practice.
He repeated his prediction to the media just prior to Game 2 on Sunday, and he turned out to be quite prophetic. Gregory Campbell roofed a backhander past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist 2:24 into the second period of the Bruins’ 5-2 win that gave them a 2-0 series lead. The Bruins head to New York for Games 3 and 4 Tuesday and Thursday.
Of course, anyone that follows the Bruins knows just how valuable their fourth line is, and that Thornton's prediction wasn't so bold.
“Well, they create them so they know eventually they will go in,” head coach Claude Julien pointed out following the game. “When you look at last game, it’s the same thing. They didn’t necessarily score but they created a lot of chances. They’re not afraid to throw pucks at the net, they always have somebody there, and there’s loose pucks that they bang away. Their goals aren’t necessarily highlight goals, but they’re important goals as you saw tonight. And ‘Soupy’ [Campbell] did a great job there off the rebound and putting that in. So that line continues to give us some important minutes in the game. And you know, as a coaching staff we trust that line a lot, and we put them in different situations that we know they’re going to get the job done.”
For Campbell and his linemates, it was a welcome relief to finally chip in offensively and help their team. The top two lines anchored by centers David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron have been carrying the team the last two games, with Krejci’s line also doing so pretty much for all nine games in the playoffs thus far. Campbell, Thornton and Paille know they can contribute, so they were happy to light the lamp in Game 2.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Campbell said. “Krejci’s line, and Bergeron’s line of late have been relied upon heavily to produce. Those guys are filled with talent and the ability to score goals at big times, but it’s a tough job, especially when you’re playing against a real sound defensive team, and a real good goaltender, to really rely on those guys every night. Our line put some pressure on ourselves to help out in that aspect. As we get further into the playoffs, teams get better defensively, and games get closer, sometimes it’s not the usual suspects that chip in, and it has to be the other guys.”
Campbell and his linemates also appreciate the faith Julien and his staff have in them. Julien hasn’t hesitated to put them in pressure situations in past playoff seasons, and that faith hasn’t wavered.
“It’s important for the coaching staff to have confidence in us, and it goes a long way,” Campbell said. “Obviously, he reads the game, and it’s up to him whether or not he wants to put us out there against different lines, and certain matchups, and whatnot. That’s really a game within a game, the matchups the coaches are looking for. For us, it’s really important to be ready when we’re called upon, and for some guys it’s not the easiest job to sit there, and then go out, and really have to be sound defensively, and responsible. But that’s the hand that we’re dealt, and the job that we have to play. It’s nice for him to show that confidence in us, and I guess it gives us a little boost to be able to play against top guys.”