Campbell returns to Bruins practice after foot fracture

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Campbell returns to Bruins practice after foot fracture

WILMINGTON, Mass. Gregory Campbell missed three games with a fracture in his left foot, but it looks like hes on the cusp of a return for the Bruins. The fourth-line center skated by himself at Ristuccia Arena on Saturday while the team was blowing out the Flyers in Philadelphia, and then joined his brothers in Spoked B arms for a full practice on Sunday.

Claude Julien had indicated that Campbell couldnt further injure his foot, and it would instead come down to the fourth line forwards ability to manage and play through the pain. Campbell originally injured the foot blocking a shot while killing a penalty in the win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, and couldnt even get his left foot into a skating boot until Friday.

Theres been no extra swelling or anything like that. It felt good skating in practice," Campbell said. Its definitely manageable now. At first it was just difficult to get the foot into a skating boot and maneuver around with it. Its not as easy to judge game situations in practice, but it felt good to me.

Campbell has watched his teammates rip off three straight wins since he went on the shelf, and missed out on the road trip through Ottawa and Philadelphia with his teammates. So the grinder of a pivot is chomping at the bit to make a return as soon as Monday night against the Habs.

Its tough to miss games like that one in Philly. Those are awesome games when its an afternoon game and the crowd is going crazy. In my opinion its the worst thing for an athlete to sit out. Its nice to see the team doing well and thats the silver lining. But on the flip side of it I want to be a part of it.

Claude Julien said it was a wait and see approach for Campbells availability against the Canadiens given the nature of the injury. But the fourth liner shouldnt have gathered too much rust after missing only a week of action, and his toughness has never been in question.

Its his first practice with the team. When you go through a grind of a practice with three-on-three drills and things, you just want to see how that foot reacts, said Julien. Its always better as an organization to make those decisions tomorrow, and well follow up with him tomorrow morning.

While Campbell returned to action Sunday, it was Rich Peverley that was missing from practice after playing sporadically in the second and third periods of the victory over the Flyers. Claude Julien indicated it was a minor issue that Peverley has been dealing with for much of the season, and it didnt appear that it would keep him out of the lineup against Montreal.

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Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

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Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

BROOKLYN -- It took most of his first season in Boston, but Riley Nash is hitting his groove with the Bruins at exactly the right time.

Nash came up huge in a must-win game Saturday night against the Islanders, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the Isle. The unheralded Nash and equally unheralded backup goalie Anton Khudobin were the two most important performers in the tight, playoff-style win that snapped a four game losing streak while pushing the B's back into playoff position.

"That's part of [a big win], right? Big performances,” said interim coach Bruce Cassidy. "Generally you look to your best players, but [Nash] did a really good job. He's got a sneaky shot, so hopefully he uses it a little bit more. You can't say enough about those goals. We needed them tonight.

"Generally our top guns have been good offensively and have come through. But tonight it was the lesser lights for us in terms of offense, so good for us.”

Both Nash goals were titanic. The first came on the first shift following the Islanders goal in the first period. The fourth-line winger stripped Isles defenseman Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone and then flipped a shot past Thomas Greiss to the short side that tied the game at 1-1. Then in the third period, Dominic Moore hit Nash in stride as he sped into the offensive zone, and Nash weaved through defenders before sneaking one past Greiss for the game-winner.

The two goals give Nash four goals and six points in 21 games since the All-Star break, in line with his normal offensive output during his NHL career, and a step up from the three goals and nine points in his first 52 games this season.

The affable Nash was more than happy to contribute in a big win, and enthused at seeing the offense finally starting to flow on a semi-regular basis when the Bruins can really use it.

"It's quite the output as opposed to the season I've had so far, so I'll take it and be happy that we won the game,” said Nash. "I think everyone in here knew that was the biggest game of the year. It was going to be a really big uphill battle if we lost that one.

"Both teams came out desperate in a pretty tight, playoff-style game, but that's what it's going to be like for the rest of the season. So we've got to hunker down and take it one game at a time as the saying goes.”

With the Bruins third line fading a bit in these tight, physical games where players have to battle for their ice, it's been vital that Boston's fourth line step up and provide big minutes at both ends of the ice. Nash and Co. did more than that on Saturday night by potentially saving the season with his biggest, best game in a Bruins uniform.