Bruins penalty kill not rattled against Senators

Bruins penalty kill not rattled against Senators
March 1, 2013, 1:15 am
Share This Post

Feb 28, 2013; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) prepares to pass the puck while defended by Ottawa Senators defenseman Andre Benoit (61) during the second period at TD Banknorth Garden.

(Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON -- Call these Bruins whatever you want. Just don't call them rattled.

It's a mindset they don't acquire after allowing a goal. Look no further than their penalty-killing unit on Thursday night.

Ottawa's second-period power-play goal snapped Boston's streak of successful penalty kills at 27. It wasn't a pretty goal, but it came when the Bruins aren't used to seeing them: when they're down a man.

And on a night in which the Bruins just didn't have their "A-game," they found a way to put that goal past them and bounce back with an even more crucial penalty at the end of the third period which carried into overtime.

"Our [penalty kill] came up big at the end of the third and the beginning of overtime," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after Boston's 2-1 overtime win over the Senators. "I don't think we're getting rattled by getting scored on every once in a while. And it's nice to see the guys bounce back."

Milan Lucic received a two-minute penalty for "closing hand on puck" behind the Senators' net. The Bruins killed off 32 seconds of that power play in regulation while it was 5-on-4. But they then were forced to try and kill off 1:28 of that penalty with a 4-on-3 disadvantage in overtime.

"It's tough. You just try to work on the system that's put in place when you're killing," said Bruins forward Chris Kelly, who was out there for the successful kill in overtime. "Know who their threats are, try to anticipate where that puck's going, and try to get it down as much as possible."

"We're trying to read what their play is, and I think we're doing a good job of that," said Patrice Bergeron. "We're finding the most dangerous guy and what they're trying to accomplish out there. It's about communicating and having some good sticks. It doesn't always have to be your body in front of the lane, but also your stick has to take the seam and all that. When you do that, I think it denies the chances for them."

The B's denied the Senators' chances, and scored the game-winner in overtime moments later.

It was the clear result of Boston's penalty killers staying mentally strong.

During the Bruins' previous penalty kill -- midway through the second period -- the Senators scored with five seconds left on a power-play that was given to them because Boston had too many men on the ice.

The Senators threw an unexpected home-run pass up the middle of the ice, and Kaspars Daugavins split the defense and stepped in on a breakaway, only to be stopped with a Tuukka Rask right-pad save.

But Daugavins quickly threw it right back out front, where several Bruins players failed to clear it out of the slot. That's when Jim O'Brien knocked the loose puck past Rask to tie the game at 1-1 and snap Boston's penalty-kill streak.

"Those things often happen when you get those bad penalties," said Julien. "We had a guy come in the door, and the other guy touched the puck before. It's a legit call. It's a tough call to swallow, but it's a legit call. Those penalties end up costing you in the end. It was a bad bounce, but still, it's one of those things, it happens."

"That's the worst for a goalie, when you make a big save or a couple big saves there, and then it just finds its way into the net," said Rask. "Those are the worst.

"I saved it," added Rask. "Then he tried to shoot it back through the crease. I saved it again, then it hit my leg, and then it hit somebody else's leg, and then it's in the net. It sucks when you make a couple stops, but that's part of the game."

Zdeno Chara was one of the Boston defensemen who got caught snoozing as Daugavins caught the home-run pass up the middle. He was in front of the net trying to find the bouncing puck, but he couldn't clear it out.

"They found a little hole on the breakout, they got a breakaway, and then a fluky one," said Chara. "It was just in the crease, and it was just hitting everything, and then it ended up in our net. Those things will happen, but when we needed to come up with some big kills, we did."

The Bruins came up with their biggest penalty kill of the game at the end of the third and in overtime. They bounced back in their very next attempt.

They just didn't get rattled. And perhaps that's the team's best quality.