BOSTON – Gregory Campbell is back at full strength and it’s never been clearer than the past couple of weeks since the end of the Olympic break.
The B’s fourth-line center notched his fourth goal in his past four games helping to power the Bruins to a 3-0 victory over the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. He continues to help pace the offense from his bottom-six forward spot. It’s a far cry from earlier this season when Campbell was making the slow, deliberate, painful recovery from the broken leg sustained in the playoffs last spring.
Now. he’s skating with speed and confidence and everything else is falling into place. The second-period goal was a beautiful tip of a Patrice Bergeron shot from the left face-off circle on a delayed penalty where he was rewarded for going hard to the net.
“They’re just, they’re more in sync. I think when you watch them play now, they were a little erratic there at some points,” said coach Claude Julien. “Because of that, they were getting — you know, spending more time in their own end than they did at the other end of the ice.
“Soupy [Gregory Campbell] has been playing with a lot of confidence right now. He’s skating well, even on face-offs, he’s been pretty good. You know, and again, all his goals have been from him driving the net, so I think he’s done a good job there. He’s been rewarded with some goals.
It was clear he wasn’t at full speed when the season began in October, but it’s apparent he is right back to himself nearly a full year removed from the incident. That’s why Campbell is back with a respectable 11:35 of ice time, and playing his familiar mixed role of physical hitting and occasional offense.
“The coaching staff and Claude [Julien] are always fair to us. The harder we work, we tend to get rewarded more with ice time and the more responsible we are, the more confidence he has in us as a line,” said Campbell, who notched his seventh goal and 16th point of the season with his second period score. “He has no problem playing us if we’re playing well and he can trust us.
“So we’re trying to gain that trust from the coaching staff and we’ve done it time and time again. I think that we’re getting back to that point where we can be out there and contribute.”
It would appear the trust is fully back for Campbell and the rest of his Merlot Line and that it’s amazing how closely a coach’s trust could potentially be linked to his fourth-line center going on a mad scoring spree.