Grind line graduates producing great

PHILADELPHIA — Prior to the Bruins departing for Philadelphia for Game 3 and 4, winger Shawn Thornton sat in the Ristuccia Arena dressing room after a practice and wondered how Blake Wheeler would fare on another line after spending a couple games in a trio with Thornton and Steve Begin.

After all, Milan Lucic had skated a couple of contests on Boston’s grind line and then just a couple games after he switched units he buried the game-winning goal in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Flyers. Thornton wondered out loud if he and Begin should be getting some sort of assistant coach credit or paycheck.

Well, it seems the tutelage of Thornton and Begin worked again, because Wheeler netted the tying goal in Wednesday’s Game 3 win. It might be time for Thornton and Begin to really press for some slice of the pie.

“Every time somebody plays with us, they get bumped to the first line or second line and they do well. So I guess they come, they play with us, they learn a little bit how to play and that’s it,” said Begin today with a giant smile. “Maybe we should get a share of it next time they sign a contract.”

The question remains, when will Thornton or Begin get the chance to skate on one of Boston’s more-skilled lines? Remember, Begin took the first shift after Marco Sturm’s Game 1 injury left a spot open next to Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi and he scored a goal.

“I can’t wait to play my next shift on the first line,” Begin quipped.

Vladimir Sobotka figures to move up the depth chart from the Thornton-Begin line to another trio with the absence of David Krejci. Put your money on Sobotka doing something big in Game 4.

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