BOSTON — It’s Daniel Paille’s Stanley Cup showcase and we are all witnesses.
You think I’m joking?
Sure, there are a bunch of Bruins playing like the NHL A-listers they are, including David Krejci (23 points in 20 playoff games), Patrice Bergeron (the second goal last night), Tuukka Rask (allowed just six goals in his last eight games), Milan Lucic (two goals, four assists in last six games) and Zdeno Chara (Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have combined for one assist).
But all of those guys have reached expectations, maybe on the cusp of surpassing them.
How else are we supposed to break down the most surprising development of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. Last night’s 2-0 win gave the B’s a 2-1 series lead.
Instead of killing penalties, Paille is killing the Chicago Blackhawks.
On Saturday night, with this series looking a lot like a Blackhawks sweep in Chicago — they were outshooting the B’s 24-7 with five minutes remaining in the second period — the game turned on an innocent battle for a loose puck behind the Blackhawks net.
Paille got the puck and in a space smaller than a phone booth he made a nifty move to avoid a defender (a “toe” drag) and attempted to slam the puck past goalie Corey Crawford.
Chris Kelly charged the net and hit the rebound over Crawford’s shoulder.
Since that play, Paille’s battle behind the net, the Bruins have owned this series.
And it was Paille who saved several million hockey fans from another epic double-OT game with a wrister from 30 feet out, clanging off the right post, with Crawford barely touching the puck.
Fast forward to last night.
While the Bruins controlled the game, it was scoreless until another Paille fight for a loose puck and wrister, this time on the inside post for a 1-0 lead 2:13 into the second period.