Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton Among Unsung Heroes Stepping Up to Help Bruins Extend Win Streak


Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton Among Unsung Heroes Stepping Up to Help Bruins Extend Win StreakBOSTON — There has certainly been no lack of offense during the course of the Bruins' current win streak. 

That run was extended to six games with Tuesday night's 4-3 win over New Jersey, and the Bruins have racked up 34 goals in that span.

But while the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and especially Tyler Seguin have been piling up the points, and the line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton has been nearly keeping pace, the guys in the bottom six up front have been doing the dirty work without a lot of rewards on the scoresheet.

That changed on Tuesday, with the third and fourth lines providing three of Boston's four goals.

"It's always a nice feeling to contribute with a goal, especially in a game where it was a big goal for our team," center Gregory Campbell said after setting up two of those goals. "I think we have to put things in perspective and realize that there's a lot more to our job than just scoring goals but you know, on a night in, night out basis it's tough for those guys — the first and second lines — to continue to put up those numbers. I mean, they've been doing a tremendous job at scoring goals and when you get a little help from other guys in other areas, it goes a long way."

Campbell split time on Tuesday between his usual spot on the fourth line between Shawn Thornton and Jordan Caron and taking some shifts with the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.

"When you cut your bench down, you certainly don't want to penalize players for playing well," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think [Campbell]'s played really, really well lately. We just had a chat less than a week ago, just talked about the fact that he just had to keep working hard, keep being a smart player, and that he was a real valuable player for us.

"Soupy has a tendency to be really hard on himself, very demanding, but yet very smart when it comes to analyzing his game, so you don't have to say much about him," Julien added. "You just have to talk it through, and for me, it was more about making sure that he stayed positive and didn't become too hard on himself, and get back to just playing the way he always has for us. He wants to be a leader on this team, and he certainly has those qualities, and [Tuesday] was one of those nights he showed it. For me, I had to find some ice time for him because he deserved it."

Both units benefited from Campbell's hustle on Tuesday. He set up Kelly for Boston's first goal when he stole the puck from New Jersey netminder Johan Hedberg behind the net and fed it out to Kelly for an easy goal.

"He does a lot of little things that we notice, but they are not the glamorous things that maybe the fans notice," Kelly said of Campbell. "He comes prepared every game and he's a definition of a true professional. [He] consistently plays well each and every night. It doesn't matter if we are on the road or at home. He just keeps that line of his going and whenever he is called upon to play different positions, he does that."

Campbell later returned to his regular line, and helped them get on the board with Thornton finishing a play with another tap-in from the top of the crease.

"Soupy did a great job of just getting to the net," Thornton said. "Jordy made an unbelievable [pass], I didn't even know he knew I was standing there. I just came from the corner, so for him to just touch that to me, it doesn't get much easier than that. So it was a good job from those two guys. Actually before that [Steven] Kampfer being able to keep that puck in started the whole play. And it's not easy for a defenseman to hold that line there, so it was a good job for him, too."

While Thornton was quick to share the credit, his teammates were happy to see the affable tough guy finally get his first goal of the season.

"That was one of those things that will be on the clips, because it was a perfect goal," Kelly said. "He came back to the middle, kept the puck in, got it to the net, got the forecheck, went to the net and was rewarded with kind of a tap-in goal. It was a huge goal."

With such an impressive goal, the Bruins will probably have trouble getting the loquacious Thornton to stop yapping about it for some time — not that the goose egg in the goal column beside his name had kept him quiet to this point anyway.

"We never could before," Kelly said when asked if they'd ever be able to shut up Thornton now. "That's great though."

Campbell agreed.

"It's nice to see him get on the board," Campbell said. "He works awful hard and especially tonight where it was a big goal for us and our team. He's a big part of our team and he was in the right spot at the right time."

Thornton's first goal puts him just one behind New Jersey's $100 million man Ilya Kovalchuk, rekindling a running joke from last season when Thornton and Kovalchuk were neck and neck in goal-scoring for the first couple months of the season. Thornton isn't enjoying this race quite as much, though, as  Kovalchuk was out of the lineup Tuesday for the fifth straight game with a groin injury.

"He's not playing, though, so it's not really fair, right?" Thornton asked.

That may be the only asterisk in this victory, as the Bruins moved to 9-7-0 on the season with everyone now contributing to the club's turnaround.

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