B's fourth line provides needed spark

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B's fourth line provides needed spark

BOSTON -- The Bruins made a conscious effort to exert a full team-wide push in an important Saturday game Saturday afternoon against the Nashville Predators.

The Bs fourth line had a little bit of good and bad in a 4-3 shootout win over the Preds at TD Garden, but was undoubtedly a factor in the needed victory with their infusion of energy. While the Bruins call their fourth line the energy line, but its also essentially a barometer for the physical commitment and energy level exhibited by the Black and Gold.

A Daniel Paille goal and oodles of energy from the fourth line forwards set the tone for the rest of the Bs, and left them with the kind of success through depth and hard work thats also the organizations founding philosophy. They finished with five shots on net as a trio and gave every last ounce of energy in their 14 shifts.

But Shawn Thornton doesnt pull many punches, and also admitted he wasnt too high about the goal scored because they gave it right back early in the third period on a Patric Holmqvist goal.

We were happy to score but then we got scored against so I guess it kind of washes out right? said Thornton. I think everyone showed up to play. There were a couple of mistakes and they capitalized on them, but I think the effort was there from everyone. I think everyone was trying to buy into the game plan, which was good.

Adam McQuaid was hauled down near the Nashville net, and then fell far behind the Predators transition game into the offensive zone. Shawn Thornton stepped up into McQuaids spot to cover the net, but Gregory Campbell lagged behind with back pressure creating a 3-on-2 in front of the net.

It was a mental error, to be sure, but it didnt wipe out the earlier play to give the Bs a temporary lead. Shawn Thornton had his back to the front of the net as he cycled behind the Predators cage, but heard Daniel Paille calling for the puck as he cut to the net.

Thornton flipped a pass backhanded to the front of the net and Paille finished the play off by raising a backhanded shot over Pekka Rinne.

That leaves Paille one goal short of double-digits this season, and gave the Bs fourth line plenty to build on with some important games on the horizon.

You need that fourth line production no matter what. I think thats Pailles ninth goal. For a guy who plays on the fourth line were certainly happy with his production this year, said Claude Julien. He did exactly what we had talked about. We saw that if we could beat their guy that was pursuing us, it was important that we take it to the net. They played a bit of a man-on-man type of defense, so it was important for us. You saw us tonight go behind the net, trying to jam it coming out the other side. Rinne was obviously standing tall for them, but we had a lot of opportunities that way. We did that in the first, and then again in the third by taking it from the corner and taking it to the net. That was a big goal for us.

The fourth lines contributions were so important that Milan Lucic immediately referenced their days work on Saturday afternoon when asked about his game-tying goal with 1:07 to go in the third period. Thats a sign the Bruins are all in it together at this point in the season, and that production from all four lines will be needed headed into the teeth of a nasty second-half schedule.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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