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Bruins' fourth line came up big in Game 1

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins always have counted on their fourth line, affectionately known as the "Merlot Line," for more than just physicality and energy.

While the trio of Gregory Campbell centering Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton has been as tough as they come since being put together during the 2010-11 season, all three players have shown flashes of skill worthy of playing above their spot on the depth chart.

Those skills were on display more during the 2012-13 season because Campbell and Paille were forced to play on other lines for stretches because of injuries. But reunited with Thornton for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the trio showed its offensive bent Wednesday in setting up the Bruins' first goal in their 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

"Obviously when me and [Campbell] were able to play with other players, it just gives you a lot more confidence to do what you have to do," Paille said Thursday. "And when we come back and play together, I think we just realize we can play when we need to and we want to continue to not only play our role and do the simple things, but we want to help out as much as we can like we do."

The Merlot Line clearly lost the battle against the Washington Capitals' fourth line in last year's playoffs when the Capitals eliminated the Bruins in seven games in the first round. Paille and Campbell finished with minus-1 ratings after going minus-3 in the last three games. Thornton was scratched the last two games.

"Even Washington, I thought we started out really good and then we couldn't find our groove towards the end," Paille said. "But I think here, it's just about consistency and we want to continue that. We did that well [Wednesday], but we want to continue to do that throughout the series."

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