NEW YORK -- When Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien puts the energy line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille on the ice in the closing minutes, with the team holding on to a one-goal lead, it means the coach trusts them.
That’s exactly what happened during the Bruins’ 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. It’s not like Julien hasn’t done that in the past, but that line was buzzing against the Rangers and creating offense, so he relied on it in the third period.
“That line actually played a pretty good game and they came up big for us at the right time,” Julien said.
Thornton scored his third goal of the season, while Paille notched a shorthanded tally in the win. In fact, the Bruins are 25-4 when Thornton scores a goal.
“You know me, I just close my eyes and shoot,” he said with a smile.
Thornton gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 4:58 of the second period. Boston was in transition and caught the Rangers in a line change when Thornton and Brad Marchand broke for 2-on-1. Thornton knuckled a shot past the glove of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
“I told [Reilly Smith] a couple of shifts before that I thought I had one in me tonight. He told me if I was going to score, I better go top glove, so I just listened to him.”
He was a healthy scratch for Monday’s 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, but he and his linemates were effective against New York.
“We were fresh,” Thornton said with a laugh. “I didn’t play [Monday] night and those guys only played eight or nine minutes [against Carolina]. I’m actually not really kidding. We got in at a decent time and those guys weren’t taxed from the night before, I obviously wasn’t either, so maybe we felt like we had our legs underneath us a little bit more.”
Paille gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead when he scored a shorthanded goal, beating Lundqvist to the five-hole at 11:30 of the second period that proved to be the game-winner.
Campbell remains the lone Bruins forward without a goal this season, but he’s dropped the gloves a few times -- including a bout against the Rangers’ Derek Dorsett in the first period on Tuesday.
Of course, a big factor in the win Tuesday was goalie Tuukka Rask's stellar 43-save performance. Still, after the game Rask credited Thornton, Paille and Campbell for giving the team momentum.