|Daniel Paille getting opportunities, missing opportunities||02.10.15 at 1:51 pm ET|
The Bruins have hit a bit of a snag with losses in two of their last three games, but things have generally been looking up. They’re winners of nine of their last 13 games and have points in 13 of their last 16 games. Lots of players should be encouraged.
In the case of Daniel Paille, however, it’s hard to tell what to feel. On the snakebitten scale, Paille rarely registers below an 8, but recent games have seen him break that scale and then spill glue all over the place trying to rebuild it. He still has just one goal in 53 games this season.
“I know if I had 10 goals by now, I wouldn’t be as mad as I am now,” Paille said Tuesday morning, “but for me it’s just about trying to move on and focus on the next play.”
The fact that multiple Bruins scoring chances have been punctuated by Paille flubs ‘ missing the net, shooting the puck over the net, falling down at center ice with no one but the goaltender in front of him ‘ has undoubtedly been a point of frustration for both Paille and the Bruins, but one shouldn’t overlook the fact that he’s creating chances. Missed opportunities don’t come unless there’s an opportunity.
“It’s encouraging to see him get those chances,” Claude Julien said. “It’s maybe frustrating more for him than it is for us to miss those opportunities because he’s had some really good ones and could have provided us with some important goals.”
The Bruins have moved Paille around in their lineup in recent games. The last two have seen him go from his usual fourth-line role with Gregory Campbell and Craig Cunningham to the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Among other missed opportunities, Saturday saw him send the puck over a practically open net after receiving a pass from Patrice Bergeron on an odd-man rush and Sunday saw him trip up at center ice on what would have been a breakaway against Carey Price.
To make matters worse, Paille, a free agent at season’s end, is playing for a new contract. In 53 games this season, Paille’s lone goal came at the end of a shift on Nov. 21 against the Blue Jackets. Considering he scored 10 goals in the lockout-shortened season and had nine a season ago despite missing 10 games, it will be hard for potential employers to pay him to be anything more than a fourth-liner.
With more chances, that could change. It won’t unless the pucks actually start going in, however.
|Carey Price is pretty sure Canadiens will see Bruins ‘again’ in playoffs||02.09.15 at 9:12 am ET|
Sooner or later, the Bruins will have to find a way to solve Carey Price.
On Sunday night, the league’s top goalie stonewalled the Bruins for a fourth time this season, stopping 34 of 35 shots in a 3-1 win over the Bruins that gave Montreal a clean sweep of the four-game season series. What does it mean to Price?
“That’s what they are. They’re a really good team, well-structured,” Price said. “They work hard. They’ve got all the characteristics of a good playoff team, and I don’t doubt that if we want to get to our ultimate goal, we’ll see them again.”
In those four games, Price has allowed just six goals, turning aside 113 of the 119 shots he’s faced. On Sunday, he admitted he was a little bit lucky to go along with being very good. The best example of that was in the second period when Loui Eriksson fired a shot on goal from the left circle after he left his crease. The puck hit his stick and popped straight up in the air and into his glove.
Then came his two saves in the same period on the tough-luck Daniel Paille. One was a kick save on Paille, who was right on the doorstep and took a pass from Torey Krug but could not finish. The other was a stick save on a shot from Paille from the right circle.
“Lucky. I don’t even think it was going in, to be honest,” Price said of the second Paille chance.
In the first period, Craig Cunningham had a chance in the low slot with Price again scrambling in the crease. But there was Michael Bournival there to get a piece of it before Price could get back in position.
“Absolutely, yeah. We had some guys bailing me out,” Price said. “That’s what it’s all about. We’re a committed team to blocking shots, and battling in that blue paint, and tonight it paid off in a close one.”
The flip side of this is alarming to the Bruins, especially coach Claude Julien.
“I don’t think we made Carey Price‘s night real hard,” Julien said. “He didn’t have to move much. He just stood there, stopped the shots, so those are areas that weren’t good enough, and in order to beat this team that really gets up for us our best players have to be our best players and we didn’t have that tonight.”
How do the Bruins go about making things tougher?
“Traffic,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “It’s pretty obvious I think. I don’t think there’s any goalie in the league that likes to have traffic in front of him. We didn’t do that probably consistently for the whole night.”
“Like every goalie you have to get in front,” added fellow blue liner Dennis Seidenberg. “If the goalie doesn’t see the puck he can’t stop them or he can’t make a save. There are going to loose pucks and we just have to get there in front of him and then get those second chance opportunities and that has been missing in the past.”
The Bruins have two months to find what’s been missing against Price.
|Bruins prepare for Stars, Avalanche||01.19.15 at 10:56 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins had perfect attendance as they practiced Monday in anticipation of a two-game road trip that will send them into the All-Star break.
The B’s will play Tuesday in Dallas and Wednesday in Colorado. By the looks of Monday’s practice, Daniel Paille will remain on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Tuesday’s game as Brad Marchand serves the final game of his two-game ban for slew-footing Derick Brassard last week.
The lines in practice were as follows:
All defensemen and both goaltenders were present.
|Brad Marchand has phone hearing for slew-foot on Derick Brassard||01.16.15 at 1:08 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand has a phone hearing with the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety to discuss his slew-foot on Rangers forward Derick Brassard in Thursday’s win over the Rangers.
Claude Julien declined to comment on the play, only sharing that Marchand had a hearing. Perhaps in anticipation of a potential Marchand suspension, Julien skated left wing Daniel Paille on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in practice.
The lines were as follows:
Marchand has been suspended twice in his NHL career, as he was given two games for a hit on R.J. Umberger during the 2010-11 season and five games for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo in the 2011-12 season. He was fined $2,500 for a slew-foot earlier that season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|With Bruins’ fourth line constantly changing, Craig Cunningham appears a safe bet to stay||01.13.15 at 12:39 pm ET|
The Bruins, injuries and a suspension aside, pretty much had one fourth line since midway through the 2010-11 season: Gregory Campbell between Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. Just over halfway through this season, they’ve had 15 different fourth lines by our count (see below).
As Scott McLaughlin recently pointed out, these fourth lines have mostly been ineffective. Yet with Simon Gagne recently informing the Bruins he will not be returning this season, the team can at least have a better idea of who will make up their bottom trio. Specifically, you can count on Craig Cunningham to stick on Gregory Campbell’s right wing.
In a season that has seen the Bruins struggle to get any traction with their bottom trio(s), playing Cunningham has looked to be the right idea all along. He moves relatively well, brings an element of grit, and, when given the minutes, isn’t to throw the puck on net even if it isn’t the prettiest chance.
“Any time the goalie kicks out a rebound, no one really knows where it’s going and it’s a 50-50 puck,” Cunningham said Tuesday.
Claude Julien acknowledged Tuesday that the Bruins are giving Cunningham a real shot to become a permanent member of the line, but he doesn’t feel he’s won anything yet.
“No. I don’t think so,’ Cunningham said. “For me, I’m still trying to make an impact and show that I can play at this level every night. You live day-to-day up here. For me, you never want to get comfortable. I think every day is kind of like a tryout. They’re watching you and you’ve got to bring something every single day.”
Daniel Paille moved up from the line last week as he was promoted to a new-look top-six trio with Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic. Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron have manned his left wing spot since, but that could continue to change.
As long as Campbell is in Boston, he figures to be on that fourth line, and it seems Cunningham stands a better chance than any of Boston’s youngsters of sticking on the right side. The other wing may continue to be a revolving door, but in the meantime, Campbell and Cunningham, linemates for eight games entering Tuesday night, should seize the opportunity to prove they’re the men for the job as the Bruins look to re-establish the puck-possessing, energy-providing fourth line the Bruins once had.
“I guess I was lucky — we were lucky, in a sense — to have that stability for the last four years,” Campbell said. “You kind of take it for granted, because if you look around, it doesn’t happen often where a line’s together that long where you can create that chemistry and whatever. The thing is, our role doesn’t change. We just have to take pride in that. The guys that have been on the line are more than capable of doing the job and they’re good players. We’ll make it work. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer.”
THE MANY DIFFERENT FOURTH LINES
These aren’t groups that were just used for shifts at a time. From tracking the team’s lineups throughout the season, these are the lines that the B’s have used for a game or games at a time. Some have changed from mid-game line shakeups, but that has rarely been the case.
Paille-Cunningham-Robins: Games 1, 2, 3
Paille-Spooner-Caron: Game 4
Paille-Spooner-Gagne: Game 5
Paille-Campbell-Gagne: Games 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28
Paille-Campbell-Fraser: Game 7, 34, 35, 36
Paille-Campbell-Smith: Game 12
Kelly-Campbell-Paille: Game 15
Lindblad-Khokhlachev-Fraser: Game 22
Caron-Khokhlachev-Pastrnak: Game 23
Smith-Kelly-Griffith: Game 24
Paille-Campbell-Griffith: Games 29, 30, 31
Paille-Campbell-Cunningham: Game 32, 33, 38, 39, 40, 41
Lindblad-Cunningham-Griffith: Game 37
Caron-Campbell-Cunningham: Game 42
Kelly-Campbell-Cunningham: Game 43
|Daniel Paille suited for whatever role awaits him with Bruins||08.12.14 at 10:40 pm ET|
When the Beatles broke up, it wasn’t Paul McCartney or John Lennon who went on to make the best album outside the group (in my opinion), but rather George Harrison. Paul and John were obviously the bigger names throughout the Fab Four’s tenure, but Harrison, who had come an extremely long way as a guitarist and songwriter over the years, was primed for success.
Think of the breakup of the Merlot Line as being similar. Shawn Thornton is the biggest name (he’s in the movies, you know) and Gregory Campbell is known across the continent for killing a penalty on a broken leg, but Daniel Paille seems destined to have the strongest post-Merlot career.
Why? Because the opportunity is now there. If the Bruins embrace the trend of speedier and more skilled fourth line, Paille can handle it. If they want to move him up to the third line, he should be able to hang with the increased competition.
Paille, a former first-round pick of the Sabres who found his nitch in the NHL as a fourth-liner and penalty killer with the Bruins, possesses the speed that would allow him to fit on a quicker fourth line. Though there’s probably a shorthanded breakaway on which he didn’t score for every goal he’s scored in his career, Paille might remain a solid fit on the fourth line as it moves away from grit to skill. Ryan Spooner could take over as the line’s center, as the team is entertaining the idea of moving Campbell to the wing.
“The game is changing where there is a lot of skill on fourth lines,” Paille said this week. “Guys that used to be top-two line guys end up being fourth line when you look at [Brad] Richards and [Daniel] Briere. It’s becoming more of a challenge to play against. In my role, being fourth line typically, I have to be that much better.”
Of course, that’s not the only path Paille might take this season. With Loui Eriksson set to move up from the third line to the first line, Paille, who played left wing on the Merlot Line with Campbell and Thornton, is one of the candidates who figure to compete for the vacant third line right wing spot.
Paille figures to compete with a group of young wingers for that job. With the exception of Craig Cunningham and 2014 first-round pick David Pastrnak, all of those players – Matt Fraser, Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, Justin Florek ‘ are left shots.
Should he be moved up to play on Carl Soderberg’s line, Paille is confident he’d be able to handle more minutes and tougher competition.
“I know my role here on the team, and I have no complaints playing on the fourth line,” Paille said. “If I get to play that third line role, no complaints there either. I’m going to try to live up to the challenge if I’m able to do that, but if not, I’m going to keep working the way I need to and be prepared for the team.”
|How much has first goal mattered in Bruins-Canadiens series?||05.14.14 at 1:40 pm ET|
The team that scores the first goal Wednesday night will win Game 7 and advance to the Eastern Conference finals, provided it is a 1-0 game.
Aside from that, the first goal, for all the hype that comes with it, has by no means been a ticket to victory. Though the team that’s scored the first goal has won each of the first six games this series, two of those games involved the winning team relinquishing their lead before winning the game later.
The Canadiens scored first in Game 1 and took a 2-0 lead before the B’s came back in the third to tie the game. The Habs eventually won in overtime. In Game 2, Boston scored first but allowed three straight goals before coming back with four in a row in the third.
Playing with a lead is extremely important, but it isn’t until a team has a two or three goal lead — especially if its early — that they can smother the opponent by sitting back and relying on the counterattack.
“I don’t think you can really pack it in at any point of the game,” Mike Weaver said Wednesday morning. “Boston’s notorious for coming back, even with six minutes left. They’re a team that keeps on coming at you, and you can’t let your foot off the pedal at any point in the game.”
Another good example of this is Game 6. The Canadiens took a 1-0 lead in the opening minute of the game on a Lars Eller goal, yet it wasn’t until they got a pair of goals late in the second period that they were able to put the B’s away. Much of the first two periods — especially early in the second — saw the Bruins match or outplay the Habs and generate plenty of chances.
“The scoring chances were there,” Daniel Paille said of how the B’s played down a goal. “It’s more about bearing down and not getting frustrated. We know that goals can come and some nights they don’t go in, but for us, it is key to maintain composure and not stay too frustrated.”
There was no comeback for the Bruins in that game. There were comebacks in the first two games of the series, and though Weaver said there was no lesson to be learned in those games, it did serve as a reminder that playing with the lead isn’t always a run-out-the-clock situation.
“I think we got away from our game,” Weaver said of the Bruins’ comebacks. “It’s something that, you’ve got to play a full 60. Especially with what has happened in the playoffs. You guys remind of stats that kind of happen through all the playoffs, not just this series. You have that in the back of your mind that you have to keep on going, keep on pushing.”
Matt Fraser provided the most memorable “first goal” of the series with the overtime winner in Game 4, with Nathan Horton‘s goal in Game 7 of the 2011 conference finals standing as perhaps the most memorable in recent history. That game was played 5-on-5 the whole way, with no penalties taken on either side.
The first goal can obviously be a difference-maker, and the later it is, the better. This series has shown that it’s that second goal that matters more.
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