The Bruins’ Merlot line may have made the biggest difference in the Bruins-Rangers conference semifinals, and Daniel Paille, a key member of that line, joined Adam Jones on Wednesday night.
While the trio of Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton has been appreciated for the past few years here in Boston, the line’s outstanding performance against the Rangers earned them some national recognition.
“It’s definitely a big compliment,” Paille said on The Adam Jones Show. “I think we were kind of in that status a couple of years ago, and I think that we wanted to kind of get back in that form where we can help out the team like we did.
“I think the last few years, since we’ve been together, it’s more natural now. We know where we’re going to be, and we just kind of react instead of thinking. It goes a long way as we play, and it’s making it a lot more fun as the years go by.”
As for Paille himself, many fans believed he was worth of winning this year’s 7th Player Award, an honor that was given to rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Paille said he just felt flattered for the consideration.
“Honestly, it’s a huge compliment that people are saying such nice things, but for myself, I was just trying to improve my game, and I think a lot of people noticed that as the season went on,” said Paille, who scored 10 goals with seven assists in 46 games this year. “It’s definitely a huge compliment and I guess I can work toward it for next year.”
As for the work the Bruins will have to against the Penguins, and specifically what Paille and the penalty killers will have to do against that lethal power play, Paille said the team has been using the long break to get back to what makes them so effective.
“For us, we know that it’s probably going to be our biggest challenge going into the series, especially on the penalty kill,” Paille said. “But I believe we have a good group that is pretty strong. I think we’re refining our form again to be as good as we can be.”
Paille said that even though the Bruins lost all three games to Pittsburgh this year, all the games were decided by just one goal, which is an encouraging sign.
“It was definitely close. We felt that we did play some good games, we just fell short,” Paille said. “For us it was kind of a learning curve where we can improve, but we did feel that we deserved better in some of those games. I think it’ll definitely be a bigger challenge, just because it’s the playoffs and it’ll be more intense.”