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Despite Loss, Merlot Line Contributes

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins – The Boston Bruins trailed the Minnesota Wild 2-0 after the second period, and at the start of the third period Shawn Thornton felt it was time his team needed some energy.

So just 2:15 into the final frame during a faceoff at center ice, the 6-foot-2, 217-pound Thornton challenged 6-foot-4-inch, 232-pound forward Matt Kassian to a prolonged heavyweight battle.

“I thought maybe it was a good time,” Thornton said. “[There was] still a lot of time left on the clock to get some energy on the bench – that was the game plan anyways.

"That’s what I was thinking.”

The energy was reflected on the score sheet as the Bruins outshot Minnesota 22-3 in the third period, but Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom (48 saves) never wavered as he shutout Boston 2-0.

“I mean, for the most part I think everyone was going –still think maybe not everyone, but we definitely had some shots,” Thornton said. “Once again, I don’t know how many second or third opportunities we got, and goalies are pretty good in this league it’s tough to beat them from the perimeter.

"You have to create second and third opportunities and I don’t know if we had enough of those tonight.”

In the first period, the Black & Gold put 14 shots on net – five of which came from the reconstructed "Merlot" line.

Daniel Paille led the charge with three, including a breakaway, Gregory Campbell added two and Thornton chipped in with one.

At the end of the game, the line finished with nine total shots and Head Coach Claude Julien was satisfied with their production.

“Yeah there was some energy from that line, we’ve always been able to count on those guys to play with that kind of show,” Julien said. “And they’ve been good. They’re certainly doing their job, but knowing them, they see what we’re going through and they’d like to produce like everybody else.”

Thornton was also pleased with his line’s performance, which was reunited after Josh Hennessy centered the line against the Winnipeg Jets Friday.

However, he said that he would have been happier if they capitalized on some of their chances.

“Yeah you got to put a couple of those in, maybe it’s a different game,” Thornton said. “I said it a million times, it’s not a lack of effort from us, maybe a lack of execution.

"I think creating energy and not getting scored on is our job, but then again look at the opportunities we’re getting every once in a while – we should be able to chip one in for us.”

--- Anthony Gulizia

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