NEW YORK -- When forward Shawn Thornton and the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, they did so rolling four lines.
Thornton was a fixture on the Bruins' fourth line, nicknamed the "Merlot Line" for the jersey color its players wore during practice. Thornton, with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, helped the Bruins' top forwards play fewer minutes, and contributed offensively during Boston's Cup run.
Forward depth is key to any deep playoff run, and it's something Thornton, who played for the Florida Panthers this season and has been working as an analyst for NBC Sports Group during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, said he sees in the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Throughout the last five, six, seven years, teams that have had depth that can play their third and fourth line an extra couple of minutes and take the pressure off the top two lines, and can contribute, those are the teams that have had a lot of success," Thornton said. "Tampa Bay is just another team that's showing that."