Paille, Stuart making bids for ice time

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Paille, Stuart making bids for ice time

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Claude Julien's postgame message was simple, following Tuesday night's 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"If you have any sense of pride, you're embarrassed about tonight, not because the other team played well, but because we did not play to the level that we should be playing . . . it's unacceptable," he said.

The Bruins now go on a six-game road trip, and will be joined by forward Chris Kelly, who was acquired by the B's following Tuesday's loss, in exchange for a 2011 second-round pick.

The sense of pride that Julien preached about will certainly be tested. And on Tuesday against the Maple Leafs, at least two players who aren't guaranteed every-day roster spots put their names on the score sheet.

Daniel Paille and Mark Stuart connected (kind of) eight minutes into the game to give the Bruins a 1-0 first-period lead.

Paille's attempted pass out front to Gregory Campbell hit the skate of Toronto defenseman Mike Komisarek and re-directed into the Maple Leafs' net.

It came as the result of a good dump, and a smart, aggressive decision by Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart to join the attack and follow Paille deep into the offensive zone. Paille beat all Maple Leafs players to the puck, and dropped it behind the net to Stuart.

Stuart's attempted pass out front to Campbell was blocked, and found its way over to Paille on the other side of the net. And the rest resulted in a 1-0 Boston lead.

"I definitely wanted to make an impact as soon as possible, whether it was a check, or just keep moving my feet and getting to the puck first," said Paille.

"I was looking there to pass it to Campbell there," he said. "I was fortunate. I got a lucky bounce off Komisarek, his foot, so I'll take it there. But I'd rather have that win. It was a lucky bounce for us there."

Lucky bounce or not, it was the result of hard work on a puck down deep in the zone. And it was hard work done by two players whose uncertainty in the everyday lineup grows greater by the day, and by the trade.

Paille made his return, on Tuesday, from a four-game suspension for an illegal hit he put on Dallas' Raymond Sawada on Feb. 3. Stuart had been a healthy scratch for eight consecutive games, leading up to his return to the lineup on Sunday in Detroit.

With the arrival of another forward in Kelly, and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli saying on Tuesday night after the Kelly trade that he still had nine defenseman on his "board," the competition for playing time is in full swing.

With the possibility of another forward being moved in a trade for that extra defenseman, it's quite possible that Paille's role on the team may not change, being a fourth-line player who also kills penalties.

But even if there's not a trade for a defenseman, the Bruins currently sport seven players on the blue line, and on Tuesday night, Stuart made his case, finishing the game as one of only two Bruins players with a plus-rating (1), and getting on the score sheet with an assist.

That assist came on Paille's goal, and came as a result of what Julien called a good pinch.

"I have no problem with our D's pinching and being involved in the offense, as long as it's not a risky situation," said the Bruins coach after Tuesday's loss. "Stuart's attack was not a bad decision. We want our D's to support the attack. We want our D's to pinch at the right time. We want our D's to pinch, and we want our forwards to cover up for them. So there's no issues there. As long as it's not a bad pinch, we saw some of those against Detroit, that ended up costing us."

Just ask Johnny Boychuk, who found himself as a healthy scratch on Tuesday night, making way for Steve Kampfer's return to the lineup, and Stuart's second consecutive game. Boychuk tried to pinch along the right boards at Detroit's blue line on Sunday, and it ended up costing the B's, as the puck got past Boychuk, and the Red Wings scored on the ensuing rush, and taking a 4-2 lead in the process.

There's a difference between being smart and aggressive. Stuart was aggressively smart with his support of the rush on Tuesday night, and his play against the Maple Leafs showed enough pride to where an unhappy coach had nothing but good things to say about him.

"Well I think right now, he's one of those guys that's excited to be back in the lineup," said Julien after the loss. "And it shows. Right now, you'd like to see other guys play with that kind of an edge."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.