Fourth line provides winning energy, example


Fourth line provides winning energy, example

BOSTON -- The forward line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille fondly likes to think of themselves as the energy line, and they lived up to their billing on Friday night.

With some of their teammates sleepwalking through a game against a scrappy New York Islanders bunch, the Bs fourth line pumped in a pair of goals in the first two periods and provided a jolt of energy that helped propel the Black and Gold to a 4-2 win over the Isles at TD Garden.

Claude Julien had no problem crediting the fourth line with being their best forward group in the ugly win, and that stands as the second time in the first four games of the season that the energy line proved a felt impact in victory.

Thats a pretty good start for a trio that doesnt get some of the fanfare of the other groups, but brings bundles of pure energy for everybody else on the roster to use as momentum-building nourishment.

Theyve always taken pride in doing that for our team in the past, said Julien. Tonight theyre the ones that were doing the right things.

Thornton kicked it off with his first goal of the season as he battled through the Islanders defense to reach the rebound of a Dougie Hamilton shot, and shoveled it into the open net with a quick backhanded attempt. It was an important goal for No. 22 coming off Wednesday night when his inability to clear a puck led to a Rangers goal just 46 seconds after the Bruins had tied things up in the back-and-forth.

It was clear he wasn't happy about the play, and -- in true energy line fashion -- he did something about it.

One period later a David Krejci shot from far outside of the left face-off circle bounced off New York defenseman Joe Finleys skate and right onto Gregory Campbells stick. The fourth line center fired back at the net, and allowed the Bruins to head into the third period tied at 2-2 despite some lackluster, out-of-sync play overall.

Both goals the fourth line scored they had somebody in front of the net: Thorty Shawn Thornton on the first one, and Soupy Gregory Campbell on the second goal, said Julien. So they did things that our others lines werent doing for two period. Once we got ourselves going we were a lot better. They set the example, I guess, for the rest of the team for the third period.

The line finished with eight shots on net for the game, and also gave the team 1.21 jigowatts of energy when Paille clobbered Brian Strait in the corner toward the end of the first period. Matt Martin tried to jump Paille while standing up for Strait, but Thornton grabbed the Isles tough guy to protect his linemate. The B's enforcer was slapped with a 10-minute misconduct, but the Bruins actually went on the power play following the exchange.

Following the game Thornton didnt speak to reporters as he was feeling under the weather, but Campbell said the energy and opportunistic offense are what they are all about.

We have been playing together for the last two years, which is a rare thing in hockey. We get along off the ice, which is good because it transfers on the ice, said Campbell. We accept our role and know our role. Sometimes it is not an easy job but we are willing to help the team. Its a role that we take pride in.

I think energy is part of our job description, every night, is to bring energy to our team, whether it was tonight or any other game. For us I think it is important to read the game and learn from our mistakes from the last game, where we came out kind of flat and fell behind.

Better than the energy or the occasional offense: Campbell shares the team lead in points with Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Brad Marchand after four games. It speaks to just how big a role the fourth line has played as they once again set the tone early in a season where theyve been sorely needed by their team.

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.