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2013 Report Cards: Daniel Paille

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Today's report card focuses on Daniel Paille, a key figure on the Merlot Line who turned up his game in the playoffs and became an unlikely postseason hero.

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The Merlot Line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, and Shawn Thornton has been together for years now, consistently providing the Bruins with dependable hockey on a nightly basis. While this wasn't that unit's best regular season, Paille had himself a pretty solid 2013 campaign.

Surprisingly, ol' Stone Hands Paille was tied for fourth on the B's in regular season goal-scoring, putting the same number of pucks in the back of the net as his more gifted teammates Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

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However, Paille's biggest contributions came during the playoffs, and in the Stanley Cup Final in particular. Paille scored four goals in the postseason, three of which were game-winners: he scored what stood up as the game-winner late in Game 3 of the Rangers' series, ended Game 2 of the Final in overtime (below), and scored the game-winner in Game 3 of the Final as well.

Paille's clutch scoring in the Final came at a crucial time for the Bruins, as Gregory Campbell's injury caused Claude Julien to juggle his lines and hope for the best. Paille ended up slotted on an odd third line with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, and the results were fruitful immediately.

Final Grade: A-

Paille had a decent regular season for a fourth-liner. However, he was tremendous in the playoffs and gets elevated above the "average" grade range based on the Final alone. Scoring the game-winner in two-straight Cup games is a pretty big deal. Paille is usually an under-the-radar guy, but 2013 saw him find the spotlight for all of the right reasons.