Player of the Game: Bruins-Rangers Game 5
Does Claude Julien even have to say why he rolls out four lines ever again in his coaching career? Gregory Campbell may have proved Julien’s strategy in Game 5 against the Rangers at TD Garden as he netted two goals – including the game-winner – as the Bruins clinched a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins for a chance to play for Lord Stanley.
“Some games, the way we contribute is different than the way we contributed Saturday night,” Campbell said. “Not every game are we going to put the puck in the net, but it has to be in some fashion that we contribute as a line. Against a team like the Rangers, who are pretty solid, we really had to rely on our depth and we knew we had to play a role.”
There is no question the fourth line created a significant mismatch for the Rangers and Campbell was right in the middle of the chaos. He now has three goals and two assists while sporting a plus six in the playoffs.
Campbell was all smiles after the game and expressed his feelings dating back to the Maple Leafs series.
“I’m proud of everybody,” Campbell said. “Looking back with eight minutes to go in Game 7 against Toronto.”
Campbell scored two goals in Game 5 to send his team to the Eastern Conference Finals, but he knows it is the play of his whole line that got the job done.
“Well, we try hard and Henrik Lundqvist is an exceptional goalie,” Campbell said. “It’s not easy to score on him, so our game is straight forward, not pretty, but that’s sometimes how you have to score on guys like that, it’s tough to find him out of position, so you’ve got to get lots of pucks at him. You’ve got to create traffic and make it difficult on him.”
Campbell is a scrappy, hard-nosed center on a team that takes pride in rolling all four lines on any given night. He finished the year with four goals and nine assists, but during this postseason he and his line mates have been very consistent.
“I can’t really put my finger on one thing,” Campbell said. “I thought we’ve played pretty well throughout the entire year. We’re fortunate enough to have played together for the last two and a half, three years right now and that’s a very rare thing in hockey to have the opportunity to play with the same two guys. I thought we had a pretty good year. We created some chances throughout the year and some point or other and in the first round we played pretty hard and had some chances too and fortunately for us in this round they went in.”
Campbell knows the team’s depth will be very important in the conference finals.
“Of course,” Campbell said. “We’ve all watched Pittsburgh play. We’ve played against them enough and we have a lot of respect for that team, the way they’re coached and they have four really good lines and guys that contribute and they got scoring from every line and they’re not too far removed from winning the Stanley Cup and they know how to win, so I think it will be a great matchup. We’re excited about it and we’re going to have to be good.”
Gregory Campbell was the hero Saturday night and he will need to bring that level of intensity heading into Pittsburgh when that series starts. And make no mistake about it, he will be causing havoc on the ice-creating screens, crashing the net and getting to those dirty areas.