Paille's Hot Hands Spark New Line
BostonBruins.com - Towards the end of the Bruins' pregame skate Wednesday morning, Daniel Paille made his way into the middle of the spoked-B to lead the center-ice stretch for the second straight game day.
On Monday night, he had scored his second straight game-winner in the Stanley Cup Final. It gave the Bruins a 2-1 series lead over the Blackhawks.
"I mean, I guess we found out the problem, me and Thorty [Shawn Thornton] have been holding him back the last two years," joked Gregory Campbell Tuesday afternoon, speaking with media for the first time since undergoing successful surgery to start recovery for his broken leg.
Paille, Campbell's usual Merlot Line left wing, with Thornton on his right, has four goals and four assists this postseason, with three of those points coming in the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago.
"He's been big for our team," said Campbell. "I've gotten the opportunity to watch him now that I'm not playing with him. He does a lot of things that really help out a team in the playoffs. Playoff hockey is really where he shines. I can relate to that."
"It's the simple things that might not draw a lot of attention during the regular season, but when it really matters in the playoffs, he's been there for us."
"As you've seen throughout the playoffs, it's been repetitively the same guys scoring night in and night out. That's extremely hard as you move on and face better teams, better defensemen. For he top two lines to keep scoring on that pace is extremely hard."
"My point is that it takes four lines," Campbell continued. "You see their third line contributing in Game 1, how important that was for them."
"For Danny to really step up and really be a leader in that sense, I'm extremely happy for him because he's one of the better guys I've played with, nicer people. But he works hard and he deserves to do well. I'm glad that he's helping the team."
Thornton, Paille's other Merlot Liner, is enjoying seeing his success as well.
"It’s been great. Obviously, he says I don’t want to have to go back to playing with him so I’d better start scoring goals and maybe I can stay up here," joked Thornton.
"He’s been playing great for us, real good."
Paille found a newfound confidence this season, though it was the shortened 48-game campaign, matching his highest single-season career goal total (10) as a Bruin. He finished with 17 points (10-7) in 46 games.
"He’s been great for us all year, probably one of the more consistent guys," said Thornton. "He played a big role this year and all through playoffs he’s been very consistent. So for him to start getting some recognition because he’s gotten a couple goals is great."
"I think he probably could’ve deserved it before he was scoring goals. He plays big minutes on the penalty kill. He lays bodies. He does a lot of things right out there, so I’m happy for him."
Now, Paille's new linemates, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, are happy to see him finding success as well, especially at this heightened level of the playoffs. Seguin helped set up Paille's overtime winner in Game 2, before the trio's hard work down low combined for the second straight winner in Game 3.
"As far as the line, Piesy has been moving his feet. Right now, he’s got a hot stick," said Seguin of his left winger. "I’m trying to do the same, and Kells is playing very responsible. I think we’re just buying the system."
"We’re having fun," said Kelly, who was able to finally find the back of the net this series. You can see the offensive jump now in his already sound defensive game.
"The three of us are working hard and having fun which is nice."
"Piesy’s quite the character. Always fixing something on the bench. It puts a smile on my face," Kelly, of course, smiled.
"It doesn’t matter if there’s a minute left in the game. He’s still fixing his gear at some point or at the start of the period. Segs [Tyler Seguin] has really matured in the three years that I’ve played with him, and he’s turned into quite a responsible two-way player, which is awesome to see."
The chemistry that has formed between the trio has caused Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien to jokingly say that he's "ticked off he didn't put them together sooner."
Who knows if they would have been so successful together before this series, but all that matters at this point is they're production right now.
"Danny has scored 20 goals [in a season] - that’s not an easy feat to do, especially the way he plays. He plays an honest hockey game," said Kelly.
"They’re hard working goals, and he’s got great instincts. He shoots the puck well and skates terrific."
For Paille, the limelight isn't a place where he usually is. For him - and the rest of the Bruins, for that matter - they would rather share it.
"I think I’m just happy that we got the win. Fortunately, it was the game-winner and I’ll be excited about it," he had said following the Game 3 shutout. "But more excited that we won."
And though he receives the vote of confidence from his teammates on a daily basis, the winger's confidence also comes from his Coach's trust in him.
"He, especially over the last year, he’s been putting a lot of confidence in myself," said Paille, of Coach Julien's influence. "I think with us it helps in our game and realize that we know we can make plays."
"With the coach that has the confidence in you, you feel like you want to do something for it. You want to deserve it. We know we’ve been able to do that these last couple of games and we need to continue that."