BOSTON — The Bruins won each of the three games that Gregory Campbell missed last week after he suffered a fractured foot in Columbus, but that doesn't mean they didn't miss the veteran forward's character and leadership.
Both of those qualities were on display Monday night at the Garden when Campbell returned to the lineup and helped the Bruins post a 3-2 win over Montreal for their fifth straight victory.
"It means a lot," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of having Campbell back. "I think everybody knows what kind of player he is and what he brings to our team in the dressing room and out there on the ice. He's all guts, and he showed that again [Monday]."
Campbell played an even 11 minutes, chipping in a hit and a shot. But his presence playing through the pain of a still-broken foot meant much more than anything on the stat sheet, even if he did try to downplay it.
"I was fine, no issues," Campbell said. "The skate felt fine. I was skating as usual. It was a week off. I was a little rusty in some areas, but fine overall."
After spending last week in a walking boot, Campbell returned to practice on Sunday and participated in the optional morning skate on Monday. He admitted he still struggles walking on the foot, but feels better on skates and was determined not to miss any more time.
"I basically just said I was ready," Campbell said. "I felt fine. I skated. I don't like to be out of the lineup to be honest with you. I think it was just a mutual agreement.
"I just kind of went through my game-day routine, came to the rink and expected to play," Campbell added.
Campbell had his skate altered to give him some extra room and reduce the pressure on the foot, but he opted not to play with any extra protection on the outside of the skate.
"I didn't wear anything on the outside, which might have been foolish, but I got away with it," Campbell said. "I'm not going to lie, if I happened to take another shot there, you might see the first guy cry out there. But I was willing to take that chance. Sometimes the padding gets in my way and kinds of gets in my head and I didn't want to chance it."
Campbell did risk it, though, playing no different than any other game, as he battled all night for the B's. That included several shorthanded shifts, as he helped the Bruins post another perfect night on the penalty kill, at one point diving to break up a Canadiens play.
"He's feeling good," Julien said. "He's not even complaining about his foot. As far as we know, he's 100 percent, and he didn't show anything tonight that wouldn't give me that indication as well. So whether he's tolerating a little bit of pain still, I don't know. He's not saying it. But, again, he came out there tonight, competed hard. I think he only skated a couple of days before playing this game, and he was in the boot for most of last week, so [he has] a lot of courage.
"He's always been that guy," Julien added, "whether it's with injuries or stepping up in the game and dropping the gloves against somebody a lot bigger than him, he'll do whatever it takes to help our team out, and that's just the type of individual Soupy is."
Photo via Flickr/Cody Smith Foto