With Shawn Thornton out due to suspension and Daniel Paille out with a concussion, the fourth line was juggled and did not really have an identity.
The fourth line of the Bruins creates significant mismatches for the opposition with the play of Paille, Thornton and Gregory Campbell - also known as the Merlot line - but the three haven’t played together since December 7th against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Recently, Daniel Paille made his return back to the Bruins after healing from a concussion and what a boost it has been for the Black and Gold. He has four goals and an assist in six games since coming back from concussion-like symptoms.
Paille got the Bruins on the board first in last nights 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. The goal was his seventh on the year.
“Yeah, but you know that’s what rest does to you,” head coach Claude Julien said. “And unfortunately, you can’t do that with every player, but whenever a player gets injured and gets some rest and comes back, it goes to show you how important that part of the game is and unfortunately we don’t get that luxury. Some guys will obviously in February, but nonetheless it makes a guy come back more energized and obviously he’s been a good player for us since he’s come back.”
Paille is known for his grittiness on the energy line, killing penalties and blocking shots, but he is scoring at will for the B’s lately and that is a welcoming sign as injuries continue to hurt the B’s depth.
Staying healthy is the most important thing for Paille. And since his return he’s feeling better after taking some time off.
“I feel normal again which is huge,” Paille said. “It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way so I think I’m still slightly sore, but I don’t sense any delay or anything like that. So it’s a good thing I guess. For me, right now the main focus is to skate and compete like I have been. So I think coming back has been helpful.”
Editorial note: Tuukka discussing whether or not Seidenberg being injured has left a gap in the Bruins defense and penalty kill was mislabeled "On Milan Lucic being out of the game tonight." We apologize for any inconvenience.
Paille described how hard it is to play without Thornton on his line since they’ve played together for so long.
“We have a certain identity and we’ve played together for so long and when one’s gone we try to find another identity,” Paille said. “I think we were thinking too much and not moving or skating at all, but I think the last few games we were competing a lot better with the opportunities that we have.”
No. 20 has been a bright spot for the Bruins during their little dry spell. If Paille can keep up the scoring and the B’s get healthy again, this could bode well for them down the stretch as they make their run into the post season.
Paille has been as consistent as they come as a fourth liner since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres during the 2009-10 season. Paille had a solid 10-goal campaign last year and should have won the Bruins' 7th Player Award, but the pink hats won again - see 2011-12 Tyler Seguin/Chris Kelly- as Dougie Hamilton was voted winner.
A fourth liner with Paille’s ability is one thing. A fourth liner who is scoring every game is another.
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