BOSTON — Whether Shawn Thornton rejoins them on the Bruins’ fourth line or not, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille have to find a way to make their presence felt even more as the Stanley Cup Final unfolds.
Perhaps Paille and Campbell won’t get more ice time in tonight’s Game 3 at TD Garden than the 4:19 and 4:18 they received, respectively, in Saturday night’s Game 2. That shouldn’t matter. They’ve both shown an offensive upside in the past and could at least do a better job of getting the puck deep and making Vancouver work harder to get it out.
“Obviously, not just myself, but we all want to be that difference, especially when the top lines score goals against each other,” said Paille after Boston’s morning skate. “We realize that it’s going to be the third- and fourth-line players that could make a difference. And we want to try to help them out as much as we can.”
Paille and Campbell have been part of Boston’s solid penalty kill, which has gotten back on track with seven kills in eight opportunities. The one Vancouver power-play goal was scored at the tail end of a man-advantage after an Andrew Ference turnover.
Head coach Claude Julien would like, at minimum, for his fourth-liners to continue its physical play and set the tone for the rest of his squad.
“You’ve seen them kill mostly penalties. The fourth lines haven’t been utilized that much on the 5-on-5 situations. I know now they’ve got [Manny] Malhotra back [in Game 2], they seem to want to use him a little bit more, which is probably the right thing to do.
“But we feel our fourth line that we have is certainly capable of matching that. Again, they’re throwing their body around. We need to throw our body around, as well, finish our checks like we’ve done all year. Again, this is a seven-game series. We all know that eventually it takes its toll. I don’t think they have a different mindset than we do because they’re being as physical as we are, as well.”
Malhotra skated for 7:26 and won 6-of-7 faceoffs. He also helped his line keep the Bruins hemmed in a bit early in the game. If the Bruins’ fourth line could do that tonight, it would go a long way toward getting the club back in this series.