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How's That for a Confidence Boost?

by Dyan LeBourdais / Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins' Blake Wheeler celebrates his goal during the third period as Edmonton Oilers' Denis Grebeshkov (37), of Russia, skates away in Boston's 2-0 win in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Boston, MA -- The Bruins “fourth” line – these days made up of Blake Wheeler, Vladimir Sobotka and Daniel Paille – has really worked hard to create more with their ice time. And on Saturday, they succeeded and really made an impact against the Edmonton Oilers, when they scored the only two goals in Boston’s 2-0 shutout victory.

“We all have good speed as a team and all like to play the physical play,” Daniel Paille had told after Friday’s practice at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington. “I think that we’re a good fourth line right now that can generate a little bit more than what we’re doing.

“But hopefully it will come.”

And Paille’s prediction came true less than 24-hours later.

“We had a great shift at the end of the [second] period,” said Wheeler. “[There was] about 25 seconds of nonstop pressure on the goalie and we were about a second short from getting a goal there.”

“Sometimes it just takes hard work to get rewarded and the third period we were rewarded.”

Wheeler and his linemates were rewarded in the best sense.

“When I saw Pies [Daniel Paille] he kind of looked like he was out of breath coming out of the corner there [and] I decided it was my turn to maybe get in on the action a bit,” said Wheeler. “Vladdy [Vladimir Sobotka] made an outstanding pass right on my tape.”

That perfect pass from behind the net spawned Wheeler’s goal at only 2:47 into the third period. But Wheeler wasn’t surprised that Sobotka found him.

“No, once I saw the lane there I was waiting for it,” he said. “What surprised me more was that [Nikolai] Khabibulin looking over his right shoulder.

“I don’t know if he thought Vladdy was going to go behind the net or what, but I was more surprised to see him leave his post.

“And when I saw that, then it was all about reacting and trying to just put it in the hole,” said Wheeler.

Sobotka earned the B’s second goal at 7:02 of the third thanks to assists from Wheeler and Paille.

It’s no wonder why Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien had some positive things to say about the grouping.

“Vladdy [Vladimir Sobotka] is starting to find his game again with us that we saw a few years ago and liked,” said Julien. “He is more in your face type of player…[and] In doing that, he is still capable of making some good plays, doing the right things, and scoring goals.

“He has been better in the last three games without a doubt.

“I think Blake Wheeler’s confidence is growing,” Julien continued. “He is starting to play much better, when he is confident.

“And with his skill level good things are going to happen.”

The newest Bruin, Paille, rounds out the trio very nicely.

“Paille is one of those guys who is going to forecheck and put pressure on other teams,” said Julien. “His skating is so good he is going to create some turnovers and create some chances for that line.”

It sounds as if this group may stay together, at least in the short run.

“Right now those three have formed a pretty good threesome,” said Julien. “They have formed a good line. Tonight was one of those nights that they came up big for us.

“You have heard me say it many times throughout the year; you need different people to come up big for you especially when you are fighting to score goals.

“You need more than just the obvious guys to score goals and that was the line that made us win this game,” he said.
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