For all of you critical of Claude Julien’s system of running four lines out every night, do you get it now?
Wow. What a win for the Bruins last night at Madison Square Garden defeating the New York Rangers 2-1 behind the strong play of the Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton line.
Winning battles, bringing toughness, fore-checking, puck possession and creating traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist – the fourth line did it all.
Seventh Player of the Year Award snub Daniel Paille scored the game-winning goal late in the third period. Paille had a goal and an assist while line mates Thornton (first multi-point playoff performance in career) and Campbell combined for three assists on the night.
Daniel Paille talked after the game about his game-winning goal while wearing the B’s Army Ranger jacket which is given to the Bruin who made biggest impact during the game.
“I felt the pressure when we were on them and had a perfect view on it from the corner,” Paille said. “I thought it was going to bounce in, but it bounced the other way somehow. I ended up beating their guy to the net and scoring.”
The fourth line has been one of the more consistent lines this entire series and maybe the entire playoffs. They grit and they grind showing hustle no matter what the score is. It is something they all take pride in.
Head Coach Claude Julien reiterated after the game why he plays all four lines on a given night.
“We utilize them because they are good, not because we have to,” Julien said.
The Merlot Line combined for 37 points all season long, but not everything they do shows up in the stat sheet. They know it, Claude knows it and Bruins fans should know it.
Controlling the puck deep in the Rangers zone last night was credit to that entire line. It gave the team momentum and allowed Thornton to camp out in front of Lundqvist creating the tying goal off the stick of Johnny Boychuk.
On the game-winner, no one even talked about Shawn Thornton winning the face-off deep in the Rangers end allowing the B’s to keep the puck deep in the zone eventually leading to Paille’s game-winner, but Paille’s will to beat the Rangers defenseman to the net speaks volumes of the play of that line in the playoffs.
Paille has scored six playoff goals in his career. The Bruins are a perfect 6-0 when that happens. It is not a coincidence when the B’s have all four lines rolling they are tough to beat.
Put it this way, if the Army Ranger jacket was big enough, I would have squeezed Thornton and Campbell in there with Paille because all three deserved it on this night.
The B’s will look for a clean sweep Thursday night in New York and if they want to do that, the Merlot line must bring the same energy as they did Tuesday night-and they will.
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