Bruins' up-and-down power-play ends on high note

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Bruins' up-and-down power-play ends on high note

BUFFALO It appeared that Sundays road game against the Sabres was going to become another cautionary tale of woe and lost opportunities for the Boston power play.

The Bruins had been 0-for-3 through the first two periods of play on the man advantage, and hadnt generated much offensive juice despite some new combinations on the two PP units.

Even worse the Bruins gagged on a power play late in the second period after Chris Bourque had drawn a tripping penalty near the blue line on Mike Weber. The Bruins didnt finish with a single shot on net during the two minutes of PP time and allowed the Sabres to hem them into the defensive zone. Twenty seconds later Buffalo had capitalized on the momentum-changing special teams play and Tyler Ennis had a game-tying score on a couple of plays where Dougie Hamilton looked like a 19-year-old rookie.

But the good news for the Bruins and their put upon power play is that Patrice Bergeron hit pay dirt with a power play game-winner in the third period that led the Black and Gold to a 3-1 victory at the First Niagara Center. As futile as the special teams unit appeared in the first 40 minutes, they cashed in and executed when they had to in the final period.

It was nice to get a goal there, said Brad Marchand. Weve been struggling a little bit lately on the power play and weve been working hard on it the last few days. It really paid off in the third period.

Bergeron won an offensive zone face-off and Rich Peverley worked the puck over to Chris Bourque at the high point. Bourque fired wide left with a shot that bounced off bodies in front before kicking left of the net, but the puck bounced hard off the end boards back to Bergeron as he crashed down on the net.

The Bruins two-way center fired to beat Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller from the slot, and Boston had that elusive power play goal. The Bruins went into Sundays game ranked dead-last in the NHL with a power play that was scoring only 8.8 percent of the time, and hope that a good bounce can change their fortunes a bit.

The Bruins players knew that finally converting on the power play was the only way to erase the bad vibes their special teams units created in the middle 20 minutes of the hockey game. It was also the merciful ending they were looking for on a power play that had gone 0-for-17 and hadnt produced a goal since a Jan. 28 road win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Its going to hit a stick or its going to hit a body . . . something, said Bergeron. Yeah, we know that we need to be better on the power play. But it was good to get a lucky bounce, so well take it.

We need to get momentum and we didnt do that in the first two periods. We had to get momentum in the third period and even thought it wasnt the prettiest goal we found a way.

Julien admitted that the power play can look disorganized at times, but things come down to player execution at the end of the day.

I dont think all power play goals are beautiful goals, said Julien. Weve had our chances and we havent capitalized on them. At the end its nice to get that break. We needed that one. I guess thats what were trying to get out of our power play this year . . . some timely goals.

It certainly could be a long time before anybody calls the Bruins power play a beautiful work of hockey art, but the Boston coaching staff will settle for clutch and timely if it leads to wins as it did on Sunday night.

Former Bruins star Ray Bourque 'in unfamiliar territory'

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Former Bruins star Ray Bourque 'in unfamiliar territory'

ANDOVER, Mass. — Former Boston Bruins star Ray Bourque, who's facing a drunken driving charge, says he accepts the responsibility of his actions.

Bourque was charged Friday night with operating under the influence of alcohol and following too closely. He posted bail and was released.

"For the first time in my life, I find myself in unfamiliar territory," Bourque said in a statement released Sunday. "I am not happy about the situation I put myself into."

Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe said the 55-year-old Bourque was arrested about 11:30 p.m. after his Mercedes-Benz rear-ended a minivan in a construction zone in the city. No injuries were reported.

Bourque is to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court. Police haven't provided a date.

According to The Boston Globe, Bourque currently owns Tresca, a restaurant on Boston's North End.

"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

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"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.

Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”

“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.

“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.

“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”

The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.