The Boston Bruins are currently leading the 2013 Stanley Cup Final by a tally of two games to one, and it’s all in large part thanks to former Buffalo Sabres forward Daniel Paille.
Paille, a native of Welland, Ontario, was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres 20th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He developed through the Sabres club, starting with the AHL’s Rochester Americans in 2004.
He had 29 points in 79 games in his rookie season in the AHL, and would split the following season between the Americans and the Sabres. It was that season (2005-06) that Paille would not only make his NHL debut, but also score his first NHL goal.
His third season playing with the Sabres organization was another split between the AHL and NHL, but finally, he made the NHL roster in the 2007-08 season. In his first full year, Paille had 19 goals and 16 assists for 35 points in 77 games.
The next year, 12 goals and 16 assists for 27 points in 73 games.
Many considered him to be an underperforming forward, having accrued 77 points in 195 NHL games with the Sabres.
After playing just two games of the 2009-10 NHL season, Paille shipped off to Boston, with the Sabres getting a pair of draft picks – one conditional – in return. (The draft pick they did get would end up being Kevin Sundher.)
Since joining the Bruins, he’s had 64 points in 232 games – less than he had in the parts of five seasons he spent with the Sabres.
However, he’s also had 17 points in 64 playoff games, including eight points in 19 games this postseason. Most importantly of those points have been the last two goals: both game-winners in games two and three of the Stanley Cup Finals.
So while the Bruins are ahead two games to one over the Chicago Blackhawks, really… it’s more like Daniel Paille is ahead two games to one.
Despite the fact that many considered him an underachieving performer while on the Buffalo Sabres, it’s safe to say no one’s thinking about those times anymore, since he’s pushed his team ahead in the game and is just two wins away from winning a Stanley Cup.