Campbell sparks Bruins' strong start

Gregory Campbell, left, took on Zac Rinaldo early in the first before the Bruins built a 2-0 lead. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

BOSTON -- Springsteen said you can’t light a fire without a spark, and after a string of horrid starts in recent games, Gregory Campbell provided the strike to the match in the Bruins’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on St. Patrick’s Day.

Less than two minutes into the matinee, Campbell dropped gloves with Flyers center Zac Rinaldo, setting the tone for -- at last -- a solid first period.

“There are interchanging roles on this team, and everybody has to play different parts,” Campbell said. “Sometimes that’s what’s needed, a spark to get a bit of energy throughout the team. And this was a big game for our team.”

The Bruins bucked their recent 4-game trend of beginning games with a two-goal deficit, building their own 2-0 lead at the first intermission.

The advantage on the scoreboard was also a result of the team’s strong play in their own end. While controlling the puck for long stretches of the first, the Bruins were crisp getting out of their zone. And, whenever the Flyers happened to penetrate the blue line, their chances were kept to the outside. In fact, Philadelphia was held without a shot-on-goal beyond the 10-minute mark of first period.

“In situations like this, you don’t want to get frustrated or have those negative emotions,” Campbell said. “It’s more about being focused, determined, and playing without thinking.”

He added, “I’m just trying to help out in any way that I can.”

While the Bruins were not able to close the game as effectively as they began, allowing Jakub Voracek’s game-tying goal with under five minutes to play, there’s plenty to build on.

“This kind of game gives us even more confidence,” Campbell said.

And all of that starts with a sound bedrock laid early on.

“When you haven’t done [started well] in a while, it’s a good feeling,” coach Claude Julien said. “That was important for us and our guys were mentally ready for it.”