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Kalman: Bruins Can Thank Campbell-Paille-Thornton Trio For Trip To Conference Finals

By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston
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Gregory Campbell (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Gregory Campbell (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Richards makes close to $7 million a season for the New York Rangers, and he found himself relegated to the press box for Games 4 and 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After all, Rangers coach John Tortorella needed to create a better line to match against the Bruins’ energy trio of Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. And Richards’ finesse game just wasn’t cutting it on the fourth line.

Campbell’s line didn’t record a point in Game 4, but it wasn’t held down for long. Campbell scored twice and Paille and Thornton added one assist apiece in the Bruins’ series-clinching 3-1 victory Saturday at TD Garden.

Tortorella once again had Kris Newbury centering Micheal Haley and Derek Dorsett in Game 5 after those three played well in the Rangers’ win in Game 4. All three were on the ice, as Campbell scored on a rebound after a Paille steal and rush to the net.

“I don’t know. We didn’t really put too much thought into that,” Campbell said about the Rangers’ lineup changes to combat the “Merlot Line.” “Teams make decisions based on what they think is good for their team, and maybe they wanted some more energy. They’re a good team. Most of the games could have gone either way, and they have some really good players on their team, and some guys that really compete, so it wasn’t an easy series.”

The Bruins always rely on grit and physicality from Campbell’s line. Any scoring that trio provides is gravy. Well, the Bruins were swimming in gravy. That trio combined for 4-6-10 totals, including three goals by Campbell, in the Rangers series.

“It’s great. They’re a huge part of this hockey club,” Lucic said of the Campbell line, which is known as the fourth line only because of hockey’s tradition of numbering lines. “That they’re able to step up and produce the way that they did in the series has been huge and we have a lot of trust in what they bring to this hockey club. So, they played great, and we’re going to need them to continue playing great.”

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Barring injury the Penguins won’t have to do any lineup switching to match up with Campbell’s line. Their four trios are pretty well set, and they have the same type of players that can punch someone’s face or punch a puck in the net with the best of them. Maybe Campbell’s line will slow down and another trio will pick up the slack. Or we could be in for another “Merlot” eruption.

Regardless, the Bruins are in the third round for the second time in three seasons. And they couldn’t have gotten there without Campbell, Paille and Thornton.

Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.

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