BOSTON — There weren't many positives for the Bruins to take out of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Wild, but the man responsible for that lone tally on Boston's side of the ledger did provide a bit of a silver lining amid the clouds.
Rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer continues to supply some much-needed mobility and scoring from the blue line for the Bruins. Thursday's tally, which tied the game at 1-1 at 10:50 of the second, was the third of his brief NHL career. It was also his third goal in the last five games.
Only captain Zdeno Chara, with five goals in 39 games, has scored more than Kampfer among Boston's defensemen this year, though Kampfer scoffed at the notion that he is suddenly a goal-scorer.
"No, you know I think just the bounces are going my way right now and I'm fortunate," Kampfer said. "But I think that you have to earn your own luck and right now I'm getting lucky."
Kampfer had just seven goals in four seasons of college hockey at the University of Michigan, but he had three goals in 20 games in Providence before being recalled last month and has now matched that total in the NHL. That takes more than just luck, as Kampfer also has the speed to get himself into the right position and the skill to take advantage of the chances he gets.
"I mean Steven's been getting better every game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "He's one of those guys that supports the attack well, skates well. You know we were talking about puck-moving defensemen and he's come up and provided us with that. There's a young player who's certainly going in the right direction."
Kampfer has been encouraged by Julien to jump up into the attack when opportunities arise, giving the Bruins' defense a dimension it had been sorely lacking.
"Well it's a big thing and I think Claude and [assistant coach] Doug Houda have kind of pushed me along saying, 'You know you have the instincts, jump up in the play when you feel it's available, when you feel right,'" Kampfer said. "So you know it's one of those things now where you know time is setting in and I feel I can jump more because I'm starting to rely on my speed and knowing that if I do get caught I can catch the guy coming back."
Thursday's goal was a perfect example of Kampfer picking his spot to pinch in and join the rush. Patrice Bergeron began the play with a steal in the left slot, quickly turning and firing a shot on Minnesota goalie Jose Theodore.
Theodore made the stop on that bid, and Tyler Seguin couldn't quite get control of the rebound in front, but Kampfer pounced on it down low in the right slot and popped it in over the Wild netminder.
"It was a good play by Bergie," Kampfer said. "He pulled up and tried to throw it in the slot and again it just popped out and I was just fortunate enough. I just tried to get it up and I was fortunate that it bounced off Theodore's shoulder there.
"It was just an instinct play," Kampfer added. "I kind of had a feeling the puck was going to bounce out as soon as Tyler missed it, so you know I was fortunate enough I was in the right place at the right time and got a goal out of it."
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