While Patrice Bergeron will always be remembered as the hero of Game 3 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Final, Boston Bruins center Gregory Campbell delivered by far the most heroic performance in Wednesday night's double-overtime thriller.
According to NHLPA.com's Catherine Faas, Campbell remained on the ice for almost a minute after breaking his right fibula during a penalty kill in the second period of Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The injury occurred when Campbell laid out to block a slap shot from Pens star Evgeni Malkin.
The video shows that Campbell was badly shaken up, remaining on the ice for a moment before getting back to his feet to help kill the Pittsburgh power play.
For older hockey fans, Campbell's moment likely brings back memories of the Dallas Stars' Darryl Sydor in 2000, or even Toronto's Bobby Baun all the way back in 1964. Both of those moments, and now Campbell's, characterize what it takes to lift the Stanley Cup title at season's end.
Boston forward Brad Marchand had the following to say about Campbell's toughness, via NHL.com:
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. 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.
'That's the kind of player he is,' Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday. 'He's a real dedicated individual to his work and to his game, from off ice, to on ice, to taking care of himself, demeanor, everything else. What he did [Wednesday] surprised a lot of people, but it didn't surprise us because that's just who he is.'
'I'm not sure if I've ever played with anyone who spends that much time at the rink,' [Shawn] Thornton said of Campbell. 'He loves it. He grew up with it. I'm sure he's a little down in the dumps, but he'll be positive when he's around the guys and help out any way he can off the ice, I'm sure.'
'He's still a big part of this team, whether he's on skates or not.'
The Bruins shared more praise for Campbell on Twitter:
Based on the morning skate, the 25-year-old Latvian will play on a line with center Rich Peverley and winger Tyler Seguin, while Chris Kellyskated in Campbell’s place on the “Merlot Line” between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille.
No, Campbell's toughness and determination late in the second period won't be remembered as the reason why the Boston Bruins won Game 3 and took a commanding 3-0 lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins, but there's no denying that his effort went a long way in helping the Bruins pull within one win of their second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in three years.
Campbell, 29, has played in all 15 playoff games for Boston this postseason, scoring three goals and recording four assists over that time. His injury will force him to miss the rest of the Bruins' playoff run, however (via Pro Hockey Talk).
Game 4 is scheduled for Friday, June 7, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
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