Ice Time, Confidence Builds for Paille
By Hannah Becker – BostonBruins.com
BOSTON – Moving in, out and around the line-up throughout an entire season would take a toll on any player, but Bruins winger Daniel Paille has made the adjustment and recently has ratcheted up his in-game contributions to Boston.
The forward, who has played in just over half (41) of the Bruins’ 80 games thus far this season, has a 5-7-12 scoring line, but his on-ice work doesn’t always show up on the scorecard.
In last night’s 3-2 B’s win over the Islanders, Paille sprawled out to block a New York shot in the third period and sacrificed his body to keep the Isles from making a late charge.
The sold out Garden crowd and his teammates recognized his effort.
“There’s no doubt, what Dan [Paille] did at the end was outstanding,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said. “I think if we’re going to do well in the playoffs those are the kinds of things you’re going to need from everybody, so hopefully those guys are setting a good example.”
Shawn Thornton, Paille’s linemate agreed, saying, “He’s been playing unbelievable the last little bit. You know what, all year for the amount of times that he’s been in and out of the lineup, I think for the most part he’s done a really good job staying positive.”
Paille has been a healthy scratch for 35 games this season, but has skated in Boston’s last six consecutive contests, tied for the longest such streak in the 2010-11 campaign.
The 26-year-old has taken advantage of his playing time, developing confidence with the puck and translating that to scoring opportunities on the ice.
“I just needed a little bit to get out there and Claude [Julien] put me out there and since I’ve been back, so I try to make the best of it every time,” Paille said. “So far it’s been going very well and obviously you want to keep that going.”
“Especially playing these past few games, this last few couple weeks. Just being stronger on the puck, I feel definitely a lot more confident out there. So obviously I want to continue.”
Coach Julien has recognized that Paille’s inconsistent appearance in the line-up has been a challenge the winger has had to overcome, but also pointed out that his fourth line forward has made the best of the ice-time he’s been given of late.
“I think people haven’t talked much about him this year because he’s been in and out of our lineup and has had a trying year, but he’s getting a lot of attention now because of his play,” Julien said.
“He’s created a lot of scoring chances in the past by just doing those simple things. Dan’s starting to do that with more confidence every game, and that’s what’s making him a good player again. Obviously his patience and sticking with it and taking advantage of the opportunity we’ve given him lately is paying off.”
In last night’s victory, Paille, skating with Thornton and Gregory Campbell, recorded an assist and two shots on goal in 16:20 of ice time, including 1:57 of penalty kill time.
The 6-foot, 200-pound left hand shot has 2-2-4 totals in his last five games, but still feels he can do better capitalizing on the opportunities his linemates give him.
“I’m finding it with my speed, and Thorty, and before it was [Michael Ryder], just seeing me every time,” Paille said. “And Soupy [Greg Campbell] made a great play with me and I just got to bury those for him cause those are great plays by them and unselfish plays by them.”
”My main focus was more not ruining their momentum because we’ve been tremendous all year round. And to put me out there I just wanted to help them or improve them. So hopefully I’m doing both.”
With just two regular season games remaining before the Bruins begin their postseason run, Paille has been making a case to stay in the line-up come playoff time.
In 14 career playoff games, 13 of which have come with Boston, Paille has two assists and 21 shots.
For now, though, Paille is concentrated on the team’s final two regular season match-ups and the momentum the Bruins can gain as they head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I think we’re great. We’re a great…straight skating team, and as long as we battle as well as we did throughout the game, we’re a strong team,” Paille said.
“It’s going to be tough to get us.”