Campbell gets good feeling from season's first goal

Campbell gets good feeling from season's first goal
November 22, 2013, 9:45 am
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One could almost feel the weight lift from Gregory Campbell as he raised both arms to the TD Garden rafters after scoring his first goal in Boston’s 22nd game of the season, a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden.

It’s been a slow start to his campaign while coming back from a broken leg suffered in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, but it finally appears as if things are rounding back into form for the fourth-line center. Campbell finished off a crafty cross-ice pass from Torey Krug by connecting on a one-timer from the right face-off circle that caught iron before skidding in Jaroslav Halak for Boston’s first goal of the game.

“It is nice to get on the board. It's been a long time coming,” said Campbell. “I guess yeah, it was a relief and it came at a good time for our team. Scoring goals and contributing offensively is one thing, but it's also another thing if it's when it's needed.

“I think that's what's expected of our team is to have different lines, different individuals step up on different nights. It was a good feeling to get that one out of the way."

The celebration that arrived following the goal let everybody know just how much pressure Campbell has been putting on himself, but also how much that self-induced tension has led to the fourth line posting five goals in the Bruins last six games. After a slow first month to the season, it would seem that the Merlot Line is getting back to their simple ways of influencing hockey games.

“I think he’s been playing well the last little while – the last three games or so I really felt like he and his line have really been kind of turning the corner here a little bit. In my mind, they played like a top line [against the Blues],” said Claude Julien. “They were out there doing a great job and were bringing as much as the other lines were as far as spending time in the offensive zone and everything else.

“So it was good. I thought we had a good solid effort from our whole team tonight, which allowed us to grab a point here at least.”

While it’s true that all three members of the Boston fourth line played well, it was Campbell that elevated his two-way game to a different level for such a heavy, playoff-style game. He managed to generate six shot attempts, threw out three registered hits and blocked a couple of shots while also winning 9-of-11 face-offs in exactly the kind of performance people have come to expect from the gritty pivot.

Now it’s just a matter of rinsing and repeating for Campbell and Co. as they keep attempting to live up to the expectations they’ve already built for themselves as the NHL’s best fourth line.