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Pregame Notebook: Paille-Kelly-Seguin Line Stays Together

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - The Bruins held their pregame skate at TD Garden on Monday morning prior to Game 3, as the series shifts to home ice in Boston, tied at one game apiece.

It's now a best-of-five series, after a torrid start with two overtime games. It also marks the first time a Stanley Cup Final series is tied at 1-1 after the first two games since 2004 (Tampa Bay versus Calgary).

During the skate, Coach's "hunch" line of Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin stayed intact. The trio scored the only Bruins' goals in the 2-1 overtime win Saturday night, and accounted for five points (two goals, three assists). The combination of Kelly's strong, reliable presence at center, flanked by the speed of the two wingers (arguably the fastest on the team along with Rich Peverley), proved to be a difference-maker.

The Bruins 'top six' should stay the same, with the powerhouse Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton line providing force and Patrice Bergeron's line with Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr continuing their strong cycle game and board-work.

I would expect Bruins' Head Coach Claude Julien to use more of a three-line rollout like in Games One and Two to start this series, with the absence of Gregory Campbell and his important role anchoring the infamous Merlot Line.

Without Campbell, the 'fourth line' hasn't been as set in stone. Per pregame skate, and the end of Game Two, it could be Shawn Thornton alongside Kaspars Daugavins and Rich Peverley.

"Well, I’m not sure what’s happening tonight, but I’m assuming I’m with two new guys again. I think I’m with Daugs [Kaspars Daugavins] and Pevs [Rich Peverley]."

"So, I just season people. I’m just a seasoner," joked Thornton, who has seen Chris Kelly and Paille move up from playing with him since Campbell has been out. The duo, of course, scored the Bruins' two goals in their overtime win Saturday.

"Slump buster they call me. Come up play with me then move up to a better line and then go score."

"We’re winning games that’s all that matters," Thornton added, of not worrying about who his linemates will be. "I think that whoever we play with and however many minutes we play, you and try and contribute while you’re out there."

"If you put enough effort in and you have success then you’ll get out there a few more times, but Segs [Tyler Seguin], Kells [Chris Kelly] and Paisy [Daniel Paille] were pretty good last game, obviously and if they stay together tonight I hope they’re great again tonight."

Switch-Up for Chicago

Whatever the lines are, the Bruins will be facing a Hawks' roster tonight with one switch-up - Viktor Stalberg will replace Brandon Bollig (who had the turnover that led to Adam McQuaid being able to keep the puck in at the blueline, and set up Seguin and Paille for the OT-winner). Stalberg will bring speed to Chicago's lineup, but it will be interesting how much of a factor - if any - he has on tonight's Game Three.

Thornton's Presence

Coach Julien was asked pregame about what Shawn Thornton brings to the lineup, despite not logging too many minutes each night. It was suggested he might be relied upon for in-the-room presence.

"Let's  not  confuse something here. He's not in the lineup  because  of  what  he brings in the dressing room - we've got a lot of guys that do that," said Julien, who then focused on his on-ice presence that plays a huge role for the Bruins.

"He's  in  our  lineup  even  though  his  minutes  go down because he deserves  to  be  there. He's great on the forecheck. He's actually a lot smarter  of  a  player  than a lot of people give him credit for. He reads plays  well,  doesn't get himself in trouble much, gets the puck out of our end."

"Certainly  his  presence  makes  our team better. We've seen that at times  when  we've  had to pull him out. There's no doubt our team is more comfortable with him in our lineup for all the right reasons."

Kelly's Leadership

Chris Kelly got out of his scoring drought in Game Two. He was happy for himself, sure, but you could tell even more so, just how excited his teammates were for him to find the back of the net.

Fans may not realize it, but Kelly is an extremely vocal leader for the Bruins, despite not providing the offense this year like he wanted to do. (I think we also have to put in a sidenote here how he was really starting to find his game prior to his knee injury in March that knocked him out for a month. Seems like such a long time ago, but Kelly had to battle through this season.)

"Kells is more of an in-room type of guy and we get to see the personality he is and he’s been bringing a lot of leadership up the ice for us and I think we’re happy to have a guy like that in the room," said Daniel Paille. "I think he’s one of our most vocal leaders on the team, and I think that’s amazing to have, and guys respond to it."

Kelly is a veteran of eight NHL seasons (check out a full feature on him for more from Game Two, when he earned the Player of the Game Jacket, in the Bruins Blog).

"There's  no doubt in the dressing room, even on the ice, even practices, he does  have  a  temper, a good temper.  He's demanding, not just of himself, but everybody else around," said Coach Julien.

"When  we're not having a good practice, there's a lot of times you'll hear  him  chirp  before  you'll hear me. That's the kind of leadership he brings."

"Although he feels it's been a little bit tougher for him this year because  he hasn't had the kind of year he would like, I still think, and I told him it was important that he continues to be a leader. I think everybody respects him that way."

"He's got to bring that to us  everywhere,  dressing  room,  on  the  ice,  practice. That's just his personality. He's  a very intense individual, very demanding. That's why he's a good player for us."

Tuukka the Backbone

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg rightfully labeled Tuukka Rask as the "backbone" of the team following Monday's morning skate.

"He lets us know when there’s guys at the back door, especially when the pucks at the point. He lets us know when there’s guys open and when we lost him. He’s very talkative, he helps us out a lot and it goes a long way if the goalie talks to you," said Seidenberg, of the very communicative Rask.

"We knew he was going to be a good goaltender. In hindsight, when you look  back, it might have been the best thing for him [to back up Tim Thomas]. It allowed him to mature at a reasonable rate instead of being thrown to the wolves."

"He's matured a lot. I'm not talking about personality, but mentally, the mental toughness, then being able to be ready game in, game out."

"To  be  able  to  get where he is right now speaks volumes about how ready  he  is to be that goaltender that can be just as good as Tim was for us."

Seidenberg's Strength

There was a great moment in the locker room this morning with (who else?) Johnny Boychuk, when he was asked about fellow blueliner Dennis Seidenberg.

'Seides' is known for his fitness level, similar to Zdeno Chara, and often logs just as many minutes, if not more. He's also a shot-blocking machine and shuts down the opponent's top line with more ease than you would think.

In Game One's triple overtime, he logged a team-high 48:36 of ice-time with seven hits and nine blocked shots. In the Game Two OT, he lead the B's with 31 minutes and five blocked shots.

"He does the right thing defensively and, when he gets a chance, obviously he does a good job as well," said Boychuk. "He’s been playing really well. Strong PK [penalty kill], exceptionally strong PK and that has to continue for us."

"That’s normal for him to be strong on the puck and skating with it and being physical."

So, do you think he's underrated?

"Yeah," quickly fired Boychuk.

Do you think he should get more attention?

"Yeah," he again immediately responded.

I'll tell you one thing - Seidenberg is never underrated by his teammates. Watch him physically shut down Chicago's top lines tonight, and constantly angle them to the outside. You'll be glad you paid extra attention.

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