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Paille Rejuvenated in Return

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins - With the Bruins trailing 1-0 on Saturday afternoon against Winnipeg, Daniel Paille streaked down the wing and nearly put home a centering feed from Matt Bartkowski to tie it up.

With the puck sliding right past the goal, his speed catapulted him right into the Jets' goaltender - his net-drive on full display.

He would head to the box for two minutes, but only to get out and score the equalizer later in the first period, en route to the Bruins' 4-1 win over the Jets.

While the first bid showcased his speed, the goal showcased his battling. After a strong forecheck and cycle, Paille centered a pass while falling to the ice next to the goal mouth. As the puck ended up on Torey Krug's stick, the winger popped up above the crease, just in time to receive the puck back and make no mistake firing it into the back of the net.

Early in the second period, he reciprocated, feeding Krug for the game-winner.

Paille has been back in the Bruins lineup for five games. In his past four games, he has three goals and four points, including the goal and assist in the victory over Winnipeg on January 4. It set the team up with a strong outing before heading out on their three-game road trip through California.

Paille had missed seven games with a concussion in December, and since his return, the speedy winger has been on a tear.

"I feel normal again, which is huge," said Paille. "It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way - I don’t sense any delay or anything like that, so it’s a good thing I guess."

"For me right now, the main focus is to skate and compete like I have been. So I think coming back has been helpful."

The win on January 4 marked Paille's highest ice-time of the season, earning 13 minutes and 22 seconds on his first multi-point game of 2013-14. He was even playing the off wing, on the right side. Justin Florek made his NHL debut, slotting in on the left wing of Paille's line, with Jordan Caron sidelined by a stiff back.

"Obviously when I was out after about a week, I started feeling a lot better like myself again. But that became crucial during my rest – I tried to come back as quick as I could, but also as safe as I could too."

Paille was sidelined for two and a half weeks, with the first real diagnosed concussion of his career. He had left the team in Calgary on their four-game Canada road trip, when he initially started feeling symptoms.

"For me, it’s technically possibly my first one so it was a little bit different to get used to," Paille had said upon returning to practice after the symptoms had subsided. "But you hear of it and you kind of realize what guys go through in that type of situation so, for myself, it was a different aspect."

"I think I did the right thing where as soon as I felt those symptoms, I said it immediately and they did a good job for me to go home and get it checked out again."

The rest not only helped the concussion dissipate; it also helped give his entire body rest.

"Yeah, you know, that’s what rest does to you," said Julien, when asked about a refreshed Paille back in the lineup.

"And, unfortunately, you can’t do that with every player, but whenever a player gets injured and gets some rest and comes back, it goes to show you how important that part of the game is, and unfortunately we don’t get that luxury."

"Some guys will obviously in February [during the Olympic break], but nonetheless it makes a guy come back more energized and obviously he’s been a good player for us since he’s come back."

Paille's return helped restore a third of the Merlot Line, back with center Gregory Campbell. With Shawn Thornton still out for two more games, the full reunion won't take place yet, but the line has been generating plenty of their usual energy - and chances.

"Well, you know, we have a certain identity and we’ve played together for so long, and when one’s gone, we try to find another identity," said Paille.

"I think we were thinking too much and not moving or skating at all, but I think the last few games we were competing a lot better with the opportunities that we have."

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