BOSTON — His teammates always knew Daniel Paille was more than a speedy penalty killer who specialized in defense for the Boston Bruins.
Given his chance on a rebuilt line, he’s spreading that news in the Stanley Cup finals.
Paille scored the winning goal in the Bruins 2-1 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2, then picked up the first goal in a 2-0 win on Monday night.
His next chance comes tonight when Boston will try to improve on its 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“He’s always been a great player for us,” right wing Shawn Thornton, who played on the fourth line with Paille all season, said yesterday. “He has all of the tools. I think he’s popped a couple of goals, so maybe people are taking notice right now.”
Paille spent the first two playoff series — and most of the third — on that line, which is relied on for its physical play and defense. But when center Gregory Campbell broke his right leg on the third game of Boston’s sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals, coach Claude Julien had to juggle his lines.
He kept Paille on the fourth line until the Bruins were dominated in the first period of Game 2 against Chicago. So, in the second period, Julien put Paille at left wing on a more offensive line with center Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin.
That hunch to spark a listless team has resulted in three of Boston’s four goals in the last two games.
“They just seem to be working well together. A lot of credit goes to them,” Julien said. “I’m just a little ticked off that I didn’t put them together sooner.”
A first-round pick by Buffalo in 2002, Paille scored 35 goals in four seasons before being traded to the Bruins after playing just two games in 2009-10. Since then, he has 35 goals and 29 assists during the regular season.