Thanks to their 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators Monday in Nashville, the Bruins will head into the three-day Christmas break in a jolly mood as the win was their second in a row, and their seventh in 10 games. The Bruins enter the break leading the Atlantic Division by three points over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In Monday’s impressive win, three of the Bruins four lines got in on the action as the Bruins got at least a goal from each of their top three lines. The only line to not score on Monday was the line of Jordan Caron, Gregory Campbell and Nick Johnson. The Bruins temporary “Merlot line” has struggled without the likes of Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille lined up to the left and right of Campbell.
In a game that saw the Bruins score six times, the “Merlot line” finished the night a minus-3 with just one combined shot.
Life without Thornton and Paille has certainly been difficult for Campbell.
“Oh it’s devastating, yeah, lost out there” said a smiling Campbell in regards to playing without his linemates.
“You know, I mean it’s definitely a luxury now in today’s game to be able to play with the same two guys for as long as I have, as long as we have. So, you know change is to be expected and we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve all been healthy and all have been in the lineup and so it’s been nice to create that bond with those two, they’re really good players and I miss playing with them to be honest with you.”
With all the injuries the Bruins have had, head coach Claude Julien has had his hands full juggling lines around. Moving Reilly Smith on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has paid off as Smith has lit the lamp four times and added two assists in his last five games. Marchand who has had a difficult season offensively has three goals in as many games.
The new third line of Ryan Spooner, Carl Soderberg and Matt Fraser has been solid of late, too. Fraser netted his first as a Bruin, Soderberg scored on the power play and Spooner had a career high three assist night in Nashville.
Campbell knows that no matter who is on his line he and his linemates have to be better.
Campbell may be getting one of his linemates back Friday night when the Bruins host the Ottawa Senators as it seems like Paille is set to return. Despite not being cleared for contact, Paille—who did not travel with the team to Nashville—has practiced the past few days and looks like a go for Friday. The Bruins sent Johnson back to Providence on Tuesday, another sign that Paille may be ready to play.
As for Thornton, Campbell won’t be seeing his linemate on the ice anytime soon as Gary Bettman—finally—announced that Thornton’s suspension has been upheld and Thornton won’t be able to join his teammates in game action until the Bruins travel to San Jose on January 11.
The trio of Caron, Campbell and Johnson has combined for just one point since December 7, the last time Thornton, Campbell and Paille all skated together.