ST. PAUL - Against Winnipeg Friday night, Daniel Paille was away from his usual linemates. Normally the No. 4 left wing, he skated on the third line with Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron.
Yesterday, the fourth line was together again, Paille back with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. Kelly started the game centering Caron and Josh Hennessy. The fourth-liners responded by bringing their usual hard-hat approach.
“There was some energy from that line,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “You’ve always been able to count on those guys to play with that kind of show. They’ve been good. They had some opportunities. They had a fair amount of shots, that line. They spent some time in the offensive zone. They’re certainly doing their job. Knowing them, they see what we’re going through. They’d like to be able to produce like everybody else.’’
The three grinders combined for nine of Boston’s 48 shots. Paille had the best chance with a breakaway in the first period.
At 2:15 of the third period, with his team trailing by two goals, Thornton dropped the mitts with Matt Kassian. The 6-foot-4-inch, 232-pound bruiser appeared to have asked Thornton to fight earlier in the game. Kassian started with a flurry, then hung on to fend off Thornton’s response.
“I thought maybe it was a good time,’’ Thornton said of the scrap. “There was still a lot of time on the clock. Get some energy on the bench. That was the game plan, anyways.’’
It’s not how you start
For the second straight game, Benoit Pouliot started out alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Yesterday, however, Pouliot finished on another line.
In the third period, Julien replaced Pouliot with Kelly. Pouliot and Caron flanked Hennessy on the third line for the period.
With the Bruins without Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee), they’ve needed Pouliot to jack up his game and play out of position.
Pouliot had been most effective as the No. 3 left wing alongside Kelly and Peverley. For the last two games, Pouliot moved up to second-line duty while switching from left wing to right.
“It’s a good opportunity to show what you’re capable of,’’ Pouliot said before the game. “Some of our top guys are out. We’ve just got to step it up. Some guys have moved up. It’s time to take advantage of that and take control of it.’’
But the Bruins didn’t get enough top-six presence out of Pouliot yesterday to keep him with Krejci and Lucic. Through 40 minutes, Pouliot put three pucks on goal in 11:35 of ice time.
Able to smile about it
After smashing his row of teeth - four fakes and a few real ones - during practice Saturday, Kelly spent more than an hour in a dentist’s chair to undergo repairs.
“It’s never easy losing your teeth,’’ Kelly said with a laugh. “I think I got hit by a couple pucks too that day. Just the way the day was going.’’
Kelly was injured after losing an edge and smashing his face into the boards at Wakota Arena. After practice, one of the Wild’s team dentists bonded Kelly’s teeth.
“The fake ones just disintegrated in my mouth,’’ Kelly said. “I remember spitting them out. They’re somewhere on the ice.’’
So far, four prominent players have been moved in advance of the Feb. 27 trade deadline: Hal Gill (Montreal to Nashville), Dominic Moore (Tampa Bay to San Jose), Nicklas Grossman (Dallas to Philadelphia), and Pavel Kubina (Tampa Bay to Philadelphia). Any of the four would have been solid additions for the Bruins. However, the Bruins didn’t have the proper currency to pull off the trades.
In all four deals, a 2012 second-round pick went the other way. The Bruins traded their 2012 second-rounder to Ottawa last year for Kelly.
The moves indicate that general manager Peter Chiarelli might have a hard time adding pieces because of the lack of picks and prospects. The Bruins are also without a 2012 fourth-rounder, which they swapped to Carolina for Joe Corvo.
And the winners are . . .
The NHL Players Association and the CBC released their annual poll, which queried 257 players. Zdeno Chara was named the toughest defenseman to play against. Patrice Bergeron earned the nod as the league’s most underrated player. Lucic was voted the league’s toughest player. “I’m surprised. He’s not that tough,’’ Kelly said in jest. Kelly added that Lucic’s title was “bang-on.’’ . . . Bergeron won 16 of 21 faceoffs, and led all Bruins forwards with 20:32 of ice time, but failed to record a shot . . . Corvo had one of his most offensively active games with six shots, the most since he ripped off seven against Calgary Jan. 5 . . . Andrew Bodnarchuk was the healthy scratch for the third straight game . . . The Bruins stayed here overnight and will travel to St. Louis this morning for Wednesday’s game against the Blues.