Skip to main content

Bruins' Campbell injured, inspires teammates

by Matt Kalman

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.

A minute of agony for Gregory Campbell

Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell broke his fibula diving in front of an Evgeni Malkin slap shot during a Pittsburgh Penguins power play at 12:03 of the second period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday night, a game the Bruins would go to win 2-1 in double overtime.

Nearly a minute later, Campbell finally left the ice under his own power after a heroic effort disrupting the Penguins just enough to prevent it from becoming a two-man advantage.

Here is a breakdown of exactly what Campbell did:

12:03 -- Campbell dives at the top of the right faceoff circle to block Malkin’s shot, loses his left glove and writhes in pain on the ice as the Penguins continue to pressure the Bruins.

12:12 -- Using his stick almost like a crutch, Campbell props himself up onto his feet, holding his glove in his hand after teammate Andrew Ference knocks it over to him.

12:15 -- Campbell drops his glove again as he starts to make his way over to defend Malkin on the right point.

12:18 -- Campbell, with one hand on his stick, breaks up a pass from Kris Letang to Malkin, forcing Malkin back toward the blue line to retrieve the puck.

12:23 -- As the play moves toward the corner, Campbell retrieves his glove off the ice.

12:26 -- Letang fumbles the puck at the blue line and it nearly leaves the zone. Daniel Paille pressures him, but Letang manages to keep the play onside.

12:30 -- Campbell hacks at the stick of James Neal as he skates by, then defends Malkin with the puck on the right point, forcing him to skate toward the corner.

12:38 -- Campbell gets into Letang’s shooting lane at the right point, holding his stick almost like a goalie, and forces Letang to dish the puck over to Malkin at the right faceoff dot.

12:42 -- Campbell gets his stick in the passing lane to prevent Malkin from passing it to Letang at the point. Malkin shoots and it is blocked in front by defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

12:47 -- Campbell again gets in Letang’s shooting lane at the point. Letang passes to Malkin at the dot for a one-timer that is blocked by Ference.

12:50 -- Scott Thornton leaves the penalty box as Boston’s too many men on the ice penalty expires.

12:54 -- Ference clears the puck to the neutral zone; Campbell starts to make his way to the Boston bench.

13:01 -- Campbell reaches the Boston bench and heads straight to the dressing room as his teammates pat him on the back and the sellout TD Garden crowd of 17,565 roars its approval before chanting his name.

-- Arpon Basu
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."

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.