Boston’s fourth-liners have been breaking the first rule of the fourth line


The number-one rule for any fourth line is a simple one:

Don’t get scored on.

That rule again?

Don’t get scored on.

Yes, it’s also important to create energy and wear down the opposition with a few hits. Maybe even chip in with a goal now and then.

But never forget:

Don’t get scored on.

Bruins coach Claude Julien would like Zac Rinaldo, Joonas Kemppainen, and Tyler Randell to start abiding by that rule.

“Randell has three goals in 10 games, but when you look at the defensive side of it they’re getting scored [on] too much,” said Julien, per CSN New England. “They need to have a better balance. With the fourth line the first thing is not to get scored on.”

The Bruins, of course, no longer have a fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell, and Dan Paille, a.k.a. the Merlot Line.

In 2010-11, the season Boston won the Stanley Cup, Thornton led all Bruins forwards with a goals-against-per-60 of 1.38. Campbell wasn’t much worse at 1.61; Paille’s was 1.97.

It was a good defensive line that Julien could trust.

This year, Randell is a team-worst 4.42, Rinaldo is next at 3.83, and Kemppainen is third-worst at 3.19.

Not that Julien doesn’t appreciate what they’ve contributed offensively.

“Anytime they score it adds to your depth and is a great thing,” he said.

“But you need to end up on the positive side of the equation, and that’s what they’ve got to work on right now. They need to be a little more conscientious about what they need to do in the D-zone.”