Campbell had appeared to pull the Bruins even at 1-1 with just 1:51 left in the second period of Thursday's clash with the Sabres at the Garden. Shawn Thornton had pounced on a turnover just inside the blue line and fired a quick shot on goal that Campbell redirected with a tip in front.
But before Campbell could celebrate the end of his drought, he first had to sit through a review to make sure he had not hit the puck with a high stick.
"We were joking that if it got called back we might both retire," Thornton said.
Retirement papers won't be in order.
The goal stood, and it helped spark the Bruins to three unanswered goals and a 3-1 win over Buffalo. More importantly, the strike from Boston's fourth line supplied the Bruins with some much-needed offense from outside of the usual suspects that have carried the scoring of late.
"We were pretty confident [the goal would stand], but it certainly is a little frustrating when things aren't going in," Campbell said. "Thornty and I and Piesy [Daniel Paille] and whoever else is on our line, we really try to be consistent and reliable and do those intangible things that help the team.
"Scoring hasn't been easy to come by this year, and in games like tonight and a lot of games that we've been in over the past month, secondary scoring can be very useful," Campbell continued. "And we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I guess we've been getting chances and that's a positive sign. Throughout the course of the season, those top guys, it's a big challenge for them to produce every night and we want to chip in as well."
The fourth line chipped in more than just that goal. Even with Paille sidelined with an upper-body injury and rookie Lane MacDermid playing just his third NHL game, it was used extensively in the third period, and the trio consistently applied pressure to keep the Sabres hemmed in their own zone.
"Well, that's what we try to do is roll four lines because we wanted to try and keep the pressure on them, knowing they played the night before," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "That line was good for us. I thought they did a great job on the forecheck and sustaining some time in the offensive zone and it was only fitting that they scored the first goal and got us going, because after we scored that goal, I thought the energy level just kind of went up another notch and we just took it from there."
Julien tries to utilize all four lines every night, but with the Sabres having gone to overtime to beat Carolina on Wednesday, the Bruins were especially keen on using their depth to wear down Buffalo on Thursday.
"We got to roll four [lines] tonight," Thornton said. "I think with them playing last night and the fact that we had some energy probably helped a little."
That fourth line played six shifts totaling over five minutes of ice time in the third period. Thornton played 12:20, his most ice time in six games and his sixth-highest total of the season. MacDermid's 12:54 nearly equaled the combined total of 14:07 he played in his first two games, while Campbell logged 15:14 on the night.
Those third-period shifts were crucial to Boston's victory, but the late second-period goal felt pretty good too.
"I'm not going to lie, it is a nice feeling, especially in a win," Campbell said of ending his scoring drought. "In a situation where we were down 1-0 and sometimes it takes somebody not so common to score and create that energy for the team, and I guess tonight I was the guy."
Of course, no goal by the Merlot Line can go without a little self-deprecating humor, supplied as usual by Thornton as he described the assist that gave him his first point in 12 games.
"I saw [Campbell] going to the net, but I wasn't going for a tip," Thornton said. "It was probably only going 78 miles per hour, but that's as hard as I can shoot it, so it wasn't too hard for him to touch it."
Thornton got more serious when defending the contributions Campbell has made to the club despite his scoring struggles of late.
"He's very responsible defensively," Thornton said. "I've said it for the last year and a half, he's been a pleasure for me to play with. Yes, he's been frustrated. We all have. We work our [butts] off and sometimes you don't get rewarded for it, but tonight we did. It was nice, and hopefully it will start going in a little more often."