As the calendar turns towards Thursday’s first-round contest with the Washington Capitals, Merlot winger Shawn Thornton
reflected on the heightened intensity the playoffs bring.
“[There’s] more pressure – I guess pressure in a good way,” Thornton said. “I enjoy this time of the year, thoroughly. I don’t know about pressure, but I’m excited to get going and hopefully doing our job to the best of our abilities.”
The energy line, centered by Gregory Campbell
and completed by Daniel Paille
(and sometimes Jordan Caron
), maintains the physical mantra regardless of their opponent, but it’s no secret that defensive-minded coach Dale Hunter will bring an aggressive gameplan against the B’s.
However, Campbell is more concerned about doing what he can to help his team succeed, rather than what the Capitals will bring to the table.
“I mean that’s our job everyday to come to the rink and compete and be a physical line and high energy line,” Campbell said. “And I think in the playoffs, it’s important to utilize that depth and to have all four lines contributing – not necessarily contributing in the same way, but doing something to help the team win.
“The pressure to win is not put on from anybody except from ourselves, and we want to help this team as much as anybody and I thought we were able to chip in last year and hopefully do more of the same this year.”
While last year’s line of Chris Kelly
, Rich Peverley
and former Bruins Michael Ryder shouldered most of the secondary scoring responsibilities in the playoffs, Thornton, like Campbell, is hoping his line can help do the same.
“I think throughout the playoffs and you saw it last year with our third line stepping up in a lot of cases,” Thornton said. “We need it from everywhere at different times to be successful. We’re hoping we can chip in a little bit.”