Paille picks up Bruins with well-timed score

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Paille picks up Bruins with well-timed score

WINNIPEG Daniel Paille enjoyed one of his most energetic games of the season while slotted in with the third line earlier this season against the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately that was also the same game that the winger was knocked out of action with a high stick to the face.

So he was looking forward to another shot with Chris Kelly, and he celebrated that Sunday chance on the third line with a pivotal goal in Bostons 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre. With his back to the net, Paille redirected a Johnny Boychuk shot past Ondrej Pavelec with 1.5 seconds left in the second period to tie the game at 2-2 in a score that completely shifted the games momentum.

We wanted to score right away and it worked, said Zdeno Chara. Paille had a stick in the right place and it went in. That was a good tying goal for us.

Why was the timing of Pailles second goal of the season so important?

The Bs wingers redirected goal came just 26 seconds after the Jets had taken a one-goal lead when an Evander Kane goal temporarily deflated Bostons spirits. The Winnipeg forward fought through Nathan Horton and Dennis Seidenberg to get a pair of point blank chances at the Boston net, and the second bid finally beat Tuukka Rask.

So the Bruins needed something to change the games energy, and they got it in a big way.

Anytime somebody scores in the last minute of any period its a big momentum shift. For us to respond with another one right back hopefully got us going a little bit, said Paille. It was good to us respond well in the third period after that.

As soon as I saw Johnny Boychuk fake pump the shot a few times I was just waiting in front of the net. My initial thought was to try to tip it and I redirected it perfectly where I wanted to. Im just glad there was a second left.

The timing was impeccable and became the turning point in the game as the Bruins rode right that momentum to a winning power play strike in the third period. Paille finished with a solid 17:09 of ice time, a pair of shots on net and a blocked shot while also contributing to a penalty kill unit that effectively protected the one-goal lead in the third period.

It was the kind of all-around effort the Bruins have come to expect from Paille when he plays up the lineup away from his normal fourth line role.

It was big. You cant deny it. When you give up a goal with less than a minute to go and you think youre going into the dressing room down a goal, this isnt an easy place to play to start with, said Claude Julien. It was disappointing when they took a 2-1 lead, but that Paille goal gave us life knowing we were in a tie game coming down to the last 20 minutes.

While Brad Marchand was credited with the game-winning goal in Sundays game, it was Paille who helped change things from the loss box to the win column with his well-timed score.

Haggerty: Trade flurry makes Bruins' road to the playoffs more slippery

Haggerty: Trade flurry makes Bruins' road to the playoffs more slippery

Don Sweeney and the Bruins aren’t expected to be big players Wednesday at the NHL trade deadline, understandable since they've won six of seven under interim coach Bruce Cassidy.

But they might be feeling a little more pressure to do something as many Atlantic Division teams -- and Eastern Conference ones, for that matter -- are making moves.

The biggest headline-grabber occurred out of division as the Washington Capitals shipped a first-round pick, two forwards and a conditional second-round pick to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and a young goaltender. Shattenkirk will turn the already explosive Capitals into a strong Stanley Cup contender, maybe even the favorite. And the pressure's on for them to deliver, since it’s expected the 28-year-old All-Star will head to the New York Rangers in free agency this summer. 

Shattenkirk had been linked to the Bruins in the past but they weren’t about to pay that exorbitant a price for a rental, not while they're still more rebuilder than contender even as they push for the playoffs. Moreover, the Bruins weren’t going to do a sign-and-trade for a player who's going to command a seven-year, $49 million deal on the open market and would ostensibly be blocking the top-4 development of both Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy as stud, right shot D-men. 

Instead, expect the Bruins to invest heavily over the next year in a potential top pairing left-side defenseman who could eventually step in for Zdeno Chara. 

The highest impact moves that concerned the Bruins during Monday’s flurry of activity, however, were the divisional teams they’re competing with direction for playoff spots:

-- The Maple Leafs made a sneaky big move in shipping out a second-round pick to Tampa Bay for gritty, battle-tested, third-line center Brian Boyle, who will bring size, sandpaper and character to a young Toronto team pushing for the playoffs. 

-- Ottawa sent a prospect to Vancouver for bad boy Alex Burrows, whose claim to fame is biting Patrice Bergeron during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. The Senators and Bruins wplay each other three times in Boston’s final 20 games in the kind of matchup that could dictate the playoff fate for both clubs, and Burrows' cheap-shot antics will undoubtedly make the Sens a tougher team to play down the stretch. 

-- The Canadiens shored up their defense group by adding Dallas D-man Jordie Benn in exchange for young defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick. They did so before pulling off an important, come-from-behind win over the Devils on Monday night. 

The Bruins woke up Tuesday morning still holding their third-place spot in the Atlantic Division and still very much in control of their own destiny. But there’s no denying Boston’s competitors have all improved themselves. The gauntlet has been passed to Sweeney and the Bruins to do something smart for the long haul, but to also improve right now if the right deal presents itself. 

That could mean dealing off veteran players like Matt Beleskey or John-Michael Liles if there’s an interested party. It could mean picking up a cheap rental like Radim Vrbata or Dmitry Kulikov if the price is right. Or it could mean standing pat and not messing with a team playing its best hockey of the season. 

One thing is clear: Monday's moves have increased the Bruins' degree of difficulty for ending their two-year playoff drought. 
 

Bergeron: Julien to Habs 'definitely a surprise'

Bergeron: Julien to Habs 'definitely a surprise'

Patrice Bergeron said Tuesday on Toucher & Rich that he sent Claude Julien a text congratulating him on getting a new job with the Canadiens. Asked then by Fred Toucher whether he secretly celebrated that Julien might ruin Montreal’s season, Bergeron opted not to respond. 

Jokes aside, Bergeron said that while he figured that Julien would get a head-coaching job after his dismissal from the Bruins, he was surprised to see it happen in Montreal.

“It was definitely a surprise, especially that quickly,” Bergeron said. “I knew he was going to turn around and find another job somewhere in the NHL. I didn’t know if it was going to be, I don’t know if it was a week or less than a week.” 

Julien coached Bergeron for parts of 10 seasons in Boston. He is 3-2-0 thus far in his second stint with the Habs. 

“I was surprised, but at the same time, I wish him all the best,” Bergeron said. “At the same time, it’s tough to do when it’s in Montreal.”