Thornton, fourth line kicking into gear

Thornton, fourth line kicking into gear
November 15, 2013, 10:00 am
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(AP Photo)

It would seem to reason that the Merlot Line is finding their way.

The Bruins fourth line produced a goal for the second straight game and helped push the Black and Gold to their fourth straight win in an 3-2 overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden.

The fourth line goal was Shawn Thornton’s second strike of the season, a launched rocket from the top of the right face-off circle that ticked off Jack Johnson’s stick before dinging under the crossbar.

Torey Krug made a nice play to turn the puck over in the neutral zone, and then executed an effectively risky pass up to Gregory Campbell, who dropped a pass to Thornton poised to fire one of his four shots on net.

It had been a tough start to the season for Boston’s fourth line, where a recent stretch of games with penalty calls and special teams had left Thornton especially on the sidelines for long spans of games. But true to form they found a way to bust through, and give both the secondary scoring and the punishing energy level to shifts when they’re on the ice.

Boston's enforcer also found a way to scorch a goal past the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, which should be something the rest of the team is hearing about for the rest of the season.

“I think a couple games for whatever reason with power plays and penalty kills, we don’t get out there as much. It kind of takes away from you,” said Thornton. “Your legs aren’t as great, but I think the effort's always there.

“Sometimes it goes in for us, sometimes it doesn’t. I think we’ve been trying to bring that momentum every game anyways.”

It was the second consecutive game where Campbell has collected a point after going scoreless in the first 16 games of the season, and Claude Julien is beginning to see the vaunted Boston energy line that everybody has become accustomed to watching.

“Thorny [Shawn Thornton] scored that second goal, which was a big goal for us; it gave us the lead. Even though Looch didn’t want to give him credit for it because it hit the D’s stick, and he made sure to tell him on the bench. So there’s a lot of support as you can see on that bench for guys that score goals,” said a smiling Julien. “But it was a big goal, and that line continues to give us that on regular nights.

“If not that, it’s the momentum it’s the energy that they give us. It’s coming around. I thought that line probably started off slow this year, but we’re starting to see the line that we’re used to seeing.”

Right along with the rest of the Bruins team gaining their bearings while collecting nine of a possible 10 points during the just concluded homestand, the Merlot Line is back to prime vintage performances.