Bruins penalty kill on point

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Bruins penalty kill on point

CHICAGO While the Bruins' power play is still trying to find their elusive groove, the Bs penalty kill is earning high marks across the board this season.

The Bs managed to kill three Chicago power plays during their 3-2 shootout victory over the Blackhawks at the United Center on Saturday night, and even better than that managed to get on the board with a short-handed goal that helped awaken the hibernating Bruins.

After five games the Bruins have as many shorthanded goals as they do power play goals (one), which serves as both a good and a bad thing depending on how one might look at it.

The biggest kill took place in the waning moments of the third period with Benoit Pouliot whistled off for a high-sticking penalty and the Bruins hanging on to a 2-2 tie with a push for overtime and a guaranteed point. Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly teamed up for the short-handed goal, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell logged nearly the most minutes among the forwards on the PK, and the Patrice BergeronBrad Marchand did their share of penalty killing as well.

The Bruins have now killed 17 out of 19 power plays against them this season in five games and rank just outside the NHLs top 10 in penalty kill but have been able to summon special teams play when theyve really needed it already this season.

Our penalty kill was very good tonight. You just have to look at the Blackhawks roster to see how good their power play it is, and its hurt a lot of other teams, said Julien. The key was not letting them get set up as a unit. We really disrupted their entry a lot tonight, which was a very good thing that helped us hold them down.

Kelly was the star of the special teams show for the Bruins in the victory, however. It was the third line center that disrupted the Chicago flow at the point and orchestrated a 2-on-1 rush with Rich Peverley into the Blackhawks zone. Peverley carried the puck into the offensive zone with speed and served up a great dish to Kelly, who didnt miss his second chance at an open net this season.

Kelly famously missed the net during an odd man rush with Tyler Seguin during the first period of their season opener against the Flyers, but buried the puck in the back of the net past Corey Crawford this time around.

Its clearly not perfect for the Bruins with the power play missing in action again to start this season, but its not quite as bad as it could be provided the penalty kill continues to do yeomans work for the Bruins.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.