With three head injuries this season, the Bruins weren’t going to take any chances with Daniel Paille. So he didn’t play in the first round against the Red Wings, and it took almost three weeks for him to be cleared for contact.
But he returned to contact this week, and on Thursday, he returned to the lineup for the second-round series against the Canadiens, a boost for the fourth line and for a penalty kill that played particularly well against Detroit. Paille played 16:27 in the Bruins’ 4-3 double overtime loss in Game 1, and was a minus-1.
The Canadiens had 279 power plays in the regular season, 11th most in the NHL. They seem to be particularly adept at forcing the Bruins to take penalties, making Paille’s return all the more crucial.
In Game 1, however, the Bruins game up two power-play goals in three chances, including the winner.
“This is a special group on the other side that definitely knows how to play against us on the power play,” Paille said before the game. “It’s going to be a key factor going into the series and hopefully we do play a strong game like we did the last series.”
The Bruins remain without another of their penalty-killing forwards, Chris Kelly, who has not gotten back on the ice after suffering a back injury April 8. Against Detroit, though, the Bruins allowed just two goals in 20 power-play chances.
Paille’s return should help even more.
“I feel really good out there when I’m skating and I feel like I have no issues,” he said. “Definitely not playing in a while, I’ve got a lot of adrenaline, so hopefully I get to play in the lineup and I use that.
“We’ve played very well so far. When I do come in, I’m just going to try not to change that and keep the momentum going for our team.”
Paille said he didn’t feel rustier than any other player, considering the Bruins had been off since ending their first round Saturday — and Montreal had been off even longer. He said he felt comfortable with his stamina and his readiness.
“I didn’t necessarily have much symptoms,” Paille said. “With the injuries, the next day I felt like any other day, to be honest. But due to the issue that we had, three injuries already, we had to take a lot more precautions, find a lot more answers. So there’s more patience, I guess.”
And even after another head injury, Paille was not planning on changing anything about the way he plays.
“I’m going to take hits where I won’t expect them and I’m going to give hits as much as I can,” Paille said. “I’m not going to change the way I have to play. If I do, I’m not effective out there. Especially in the playoffs, that’s the way I’ve got to play.”
Marchand is a go
Brad Marchand did not take part in the morning skate. The left wing had missed practice Tuesday, then returned Wednesday, sounding hoarse when speaking with reporters. “I just felt like taking the day off,” he said then. “Called Claude [Julien], told him I’m not coming in.” Julien said Marchand “took his option,” and that is why he did not participate in the Thursday skate. But Marchand was on the ice for warm-ups and in the lineup against the Canadiens. He earned a pair of assists in 24:20 of ice time . . . Mayors Marty Walsh of Boston and Denis Coderre of Montreal made a bet: The winning mayor will host the losing mayor for a visit, and the flag of the winning city’s team will be hoisted at the losing city’s City Hall.
With Paille back in, Jordan Caron was a healthy scratch. Joining him in the press box were Kelly, Andrej Meszaros, and Corey Potter . . . Asked about the challenge of playing against the Canadiens’ top line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, and Thomas Vanek, David Krejci said, “I would look at it the other way around.” Krejci said he meant that the Bruins’ top line would be a handful for the Canadiens. “That’s how I look at it,” he said . . . Krejci took another interesting tack when talking about another member of the Canadiens, Tomas Plekanec, his teammate on the Czech national team in Sochi for the Olympics. “He is a good player,” said Krejci. “I’m obviously trying to be better every time I’m on the ice and he’s trying to be better than me. We’re not close. We don’t hate each other, either. We just get along, just like real professionals. We don’t cause any problems. When I play with him on the Czech team, I like to have him on my team. When I play against him, I obviously hate to play against him. You always hate to play against good players.”Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.