Bruins' Campbell injured, inspires teammates

Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 10:43 AM
Matt Kalman  - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins center Gregory Campbell once scored a 3-on-5 goal. He's scored as many as 13 goals in an NHL season, he's been in many memorable fights and won a bunch of key faceoffs. He has a Stanley Cup ring from the Bruins' championship in 2011.

And if Boston wins its second Eastern Conference title in three years, it might be a blocked shot that Campbell's best known for in Bruins folklore.

Campbell's block of an Evgeni Malkin slap shot a little more than 12 minutes into the second period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins during a penalty kill ended Campbell's night on the ice and inspired the Bruins to keep pushing despite not playing their best.

The play also ended Campbell's season; the Bruins announced Thursday he sustained a broken right fibula on the play and would miss the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It took 15:19 into double overtime for Patrice Bergeron to score the game-winner in a 2-1 victory. But even after all that time, no one could forget what Campbell did.

"The fact that he took that shot and he couldn't even move and he was still trying to play and get in the lane," said Boston forward Brad Marchand, who assisted on Bergeron's goal. "He did a great job and we really wanted to play for him and it just shows his character. He's always battling. He's always doing whatever he has to do, and he's been huge for us this playoffs so far."

With the victory, the Bruins took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. They'll head into Game 4 Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) looking for a sweep.

They'll have to do it without Campbell, a key to their penalty kill and the center of their productive fourth line.

After the Bruins were called for too many men on the ice at 10:51, they were doing well to convert their fourth of what would become six perfect penalty kills on the night. A little more than half of the penalty had expired when Campbell dove around a pick by Pittsburgh forward James Neal toward the high slot to stop Malkin's rocket. The puck clearly damaged one of Campbell's lower extremities.

Campbell lost his glove and stayed down a few seconds. Then he made his way to one knee while he put his glove back on. Fighting back the pain, Campbell stood up and used his stick and positioning skills to help the Bruins kill off what basically became a 5-on-3.5.

Campbell was on the ice nearly a minute before he had the chance to skate straight to the bench and then down the runway to the dressing room. The Garden crowd chanted "Campbell! Campbell!" as he went off and after he was gone.

"They know their hockey. But you don't have to know hockey too well to know how gutsy that was," Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. "But I think this is obviously a city that appreciates that kind of effort. It's not the first time they've seen effort from guys on that line and what they do and what they bring to this team. So like I said, it's appreciated by anybody who sees that."

Campbell was in the locker room when the Bruins skated off the ice with the victory in hand. On a team with outstanding camaraderie, he is one of the quiet leaders who everyone gets along with off the ice. And the entire Bruins team draws inspiration from Campbell and his linemates, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton, almost every night because of that trio's work ethic and relentless style. That's why they're known as the "Merlot Line" (the color of their practice jersey), instead of the fourth line.

"Not like anybody questions what kind of guts he had, but it's pretty neat to see a guy just back up how tough everybody knows he is," Ference said. "I mean, that's the epitome of what it takes to be at this point in the playoffs. He really puts the extra effort in to trying to stop a really good power play, and unfortunately has trouble there. But that whole line, I think, has garnered respect from our dressing room and the fans for what they've always done for us. And that's just another thing to kind of put on the list of why they're so important for us."

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