Gregory Campbell had himself a pretty solid road trip.
The fourth-line center opened Bostons scoring in their 3-1 victory over the Penguins on Monday night, and capped off the statement victory by dropping the gloves with Pittsburgh center Joe Vitale while stepping in to protect Tim Thomas.
Then he assisted on Shawn Thorntons third period strike against the Winnipeg Jets in Tuesday nights loss, and skated over 12 minutes of ice time in a contest that Claude Julien liberally sprinkled with the third and fourth line.
Thats a far cry from the month of October when Campbell was a virtual non-factor with zero points and only six shots on net in 10 games. But like the renaissance enjoyed by nearly all of the Bruins since the first month passed, Campbell has turned it up with a pair of goals and 8 points. But offense isnt the main attraction to a player like Campbell, and hes under no illusions about that.
Its always nice to contribute a little bit offensively, but its more about just playing our game and getting the result were looking for, said Campbell. Maybe sometimes it takes us a few more scoring chances to finally break through, but weve been playing a much more consistent game recently. Were bringing energy and spending plenty of time with the puck in the offensive zone.
Once you do that for a long enough period of time good things start happening for you.
While the 27-year-old Campbell only put up a pair of shots on net in those two road games against the Pens and Jets, hes killed penalties, won big face-offs for a Bruins team thats dominated the NHL in the dot and done all of the little things that largely go unnoticed in the box scores.
Campbells 56 percent success rate on draws this season stands behind only Patrice Bergeron (58 percent) for the team lead among Bs centers, and goes right along with the Boston philosophy of strength, dominance and precision down the middle of the ice.
Best of all was the big moment against the Penguins as Pittsburgh attempted to spark a rally after Matt Cooke potted a late goal. The Penguins crashed the net with force and energy, and that included a late Tim Thomas save with Vitale bearing down on him just a little too closely.
Thomas jumped at Vitale when the Pittsburgh forward made initial contact, and was followed by the Bs defenders around the cage. That eventually evolved into Campbell and Vitale scrapping near the Boston cage with both bottom six pivots getting in their shots, and Thomas knowing once again that his teammates had his back. Thomas said he thanked Campbell following the Pittsburgh after Andrew Ference had done the same thing just a few weeks earlier, but the Bs forward said its something thats simply built into the Black and Gold fabric of the team.
Hes arguably the best player that we have, but thats not anything that anybody else would do for any other player on the team in the same circumstances, said Campbell. This is a group of players that fights for each other, and stands up for one another. Whether its Timmy or somebody else, that kind of things has always been addressed.
Campbell isnt the first player that came to mind during Bostons winning streak, but theres a value inherent in his role that goes far beyond the numbers. Just ask his teammates or the best goaltender in the world that constantly play with the knowledge that Campbell will always do the right thing when hes out on the ice.