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Campbell Coming Up Big for B's

Fourth-line center Gregory Campbell has four goals in his last four games, and his hot streak is paying off big for the Bruins.

Friday, 03.7.2014 / 2:17 PM ET / Features
By Jess Isner  - BostonBruins.com
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Campbell Coming Up Big for B\'s

BOSTON, MA – The Bruins are a team that rewards the overall team effort rather than the individual effort. That’s why last Saturday, March 1, when a goal that belonged to Gregory Campbell was awarded to linemate Shawn Thornton, Campbell was reluctant to even discuss it, since the team had just suffered a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Washington Capitals.

It was only fitting, then, that the next night Campbell scored two, en route to a 6-3 win over the Rangers.

The next day, he was officially credited with the deflection goal previously awarded to Thornton.

And on Thursday night, facing Washington for the second time in five days, Campbell struck again.

But in true Bruins' form, after the game, the centerman wasn’t too interested in talking about his recent hot streak, which has featured four goals in four games.

He was, however, willing to talk about the fact that the B’s have strung together three consecutive wins to build towards more consistency in their post-Olympic Break stretch that originally saw them lose two straight out of the gate and allowed nine goals against.

“I’m just trying to get our line going here,” Campbell said after Thursday’s 3-0 shutout of the Capitals at TD Garden. “I feel like we’ve been playing a lot better. We’re working hard, we’re working smart and trying to read off of each other and get back to playing with one another.”

“And you know, our lines are playing really well and have been contributing on a nightly basis, and everybody knows that to have four lines cruising into the playoffs is a good recipe.”

Campbell's "Merlot Line" with Thornton and Daniel Paille greatly adds to that recipe.

With the playoffs just over a month away, the B’s find themselves in second place in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind Pittsburgh.

They know that in order to replicate last year’s success, they’re going to have to tighten up defensively, and Thursday’s win – during which the Bruins avoided committing a single penalty and thereby prevented Washington’s red-hot power play from getting a single opportunity – was certainly a step in the right direction.

“That’s a pretty talented offensive team,” Campbell said. “We held them to 13, 14 shots, and not only that, but we were pretty responsible defensively. We were turning pucks over with hard work coming back, and their D like to join. So we were really conscious of having really good back-pressure.”

“Our offensive output has been really good lately, but it’s our defensive game that we’re trying to clean up. I mean, it’s a strength of ours, that’s why we win most games so that was a good showing.”

All four of the Bruins' lines are in sync right now, particularly Campbell’s Merlot line, which factored heavily into two of the B’s last three wins.

At New York on Sunday night, Campbell struck twice in the third period, with a shorthanded strike at nine minutes and then at even-strength with about six and a half minutes left.

Though Campbell is quick to deflect praise to his teammates – “It was a great play by Loui [Eriksson], it was a good change by Kells [Chris Kelly], for him to allow me to kind of get lost there,” he said of his shorthanded goal on Sunday -- Head Coach Claude Julien has taken notice of the strong play of his fourth line.

“Obviously, they have been much better,” Julien said after the 6-3 win over New York. “Because, number one, I think their line at one point was doing a lot of duplication. They’d end up with two guys as the first forechecker and they were a little bit all over the place and they didn’t get the results they wanted, and then spent a lot more time in our D zone than they should.”

“They got themselves back in sync. Gregory has kind of turned the page there, and it’s important for him to have a good finish. So it was important to start from scratch, and that line sort of looked at some video and talked about how they needed to play, and they have been a really good line for us."

"They’ve scored goals - not by fluke - but more by the way they’ve worked together and how hard they’ve worked and how hard they’ve been working at putting pucks at the net.”

It's imperative for all four lines to be firing on all cylinders during this final stretch, with 17 games in the month of March and a total of eight back-to-backs before the season’s end. While the first two games following the Olympic hiatus were a bit rocky, the B’s have settled into a groove – offensively and defensively – from the first line through the fourth.

And with that heightened compete level comes a reward for Campbell’s Merlot line: more time on the ice.

“The harder we work, we tend to get rewarded more with ice time, and the more responsible we are, the more confidence [Claude] has in us as a line,” Campbell said on Thursday. “He has no problem playing us if we’re playing well, and he can trust us. So we’re trying to gain that trust from the coaching staff, and we’ve done it time and time again."

"I think that we’re getting back to that point where we can be out there and contribute.”

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ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
2 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
3 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
4 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
5 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
6 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
7 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
8 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 53 19 26 7 45
L. Eriksson 53 16 24 10 40
D. Krejci 43 12 27 1 39
R. Spooner 53 11 27 -8 38
B. Marchand 48 25 12 11 37
Z. Chara 51 7 21 7 28
M. Beleskey 51 8 18 8 26
T. Krug 52 3 21 2 24
J. Hayes 51 11 12 -8 23
B. Connolly 50 7 9 -6 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 19 16 5 .916 2.56
J. Gustavsson 9 3 1 .911 2.58
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