B's powerless with the man advantage . . . again


B's powerless with the man advantage . . . again

By Joe Haggerty

RALEIGH, N.C. It wouldnt have felt right if the Bruins power play caught fire and dominated their first game against former defenseman Tomas Kaberle in his new Carolina digs.As it turns out, they didn't have anything to worry about.

Kaberle was the quarterback on the worst power play in the modern history of the Stanley Cup playoffs while with the Bruins last spring, and -- in perhaps a tribute that only the Hurricanes defenseman could love -- the Bs PP teams went 0-for-5 Wednesday night in their 3-2 loss to the Canes at the RBC Center.

The futile power play this season has an eerily familiar feel - if in results mostly -to a Bruins team that ranked in the bottom third of the NHL inpower-play success last year, and was even worse during the postseason. Fact is, the Bruins probably would have won Wednesday night if they had a power play humming at close to full efficiency. Admittedly the puck movement and offensive chances for the B's man advantage has been better this year with Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and Joe Corvo helping move the puck more crisply and creatively. But the results still aren't there yet.Its a little bit of everything. Patience is one thing and you can only go with patience for so long, said coach Claude Julien, who is not looking forward to answering questions about the power play's lack of production again this season. But Im certainly not going to go there this year and start chirping about the power play all year long. We certainly want to make it better . . .

Our best players arent at the top of their games. The last thing you want to do is push power play troubles on these guys . . . Weve got to find a way to break that cycle.

Despite new personnel on the power play and a change in formation during the man advantage, the emotional focus has been inconsistent at best. It appears that, with only one goal in 18 attempts so far this year, the players are beginning to press, just as they did last year.

So what to do about it?

Many critics of the Bs coaching staffs including NBCs Mike Milbury during the intermission report feel there isnt enough movement among players with andwithout the puck. That'snormally an indictment of a power play without enough creative offensive players, or a group of PP players that are battling with their confidence.Given some of the offensive talent on the B's man advantage, it would appear to be the latter more than the former. The movement issues seemed to be addressed during one stretch midway through the game, but, in true Black and Gold fashion, something went wrong on the power playWednesday night when Johnny Boychuk tried to create some offense by cutting toward the back door.

Instead of executing an offensive play that might have helped them win the game or quiet the growing power play peanut gallery, Boychuk misfired on shooting the puck while speeding toward the slot and was called for goaltender interference once he collided with Carolina netminderCam Ward.

Pretty indicative of the first four games for the Bruins this season as no good deed is going unpunished for Boychuk and the Bruins.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

BOSTON – It certainly feels appropriate that Patrice Bergeron would author a clutch game-winning goal late in the third period of his first game back after missing a week of games with a lower body injury. That Bergeron’s game-winner also arrived in the home opener at TD Garden was an added bonus once No. 37 hammered a shot from the high slot with 1:15 to go in the third period to give the Bruins their first lead of the game in a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.

The goal arrived courtesy of a nifty setup from linemate Brad Marchand working behind the New Jersey net, and also thanks to David Pastrnak winning a battle in the corner thanks to newfound grit in his game. But the hero of the day again turned out to be No. 37, who went from missing an entire week of action to reclaiming his center role on the top line, playing 16:49 of ice time and winning 13-of-24 face-offs while generating five shot attempts.

“I think it’s pretty obvious with what he did [against the Devils]. After being off for over a week and to come back and have one practice with us then back into the game, he scores a clutch goal for us. That’s what he has always been, a clutch player for us,” said Claude Julien. “I think the third period we gave it a really good push there and I like seeing that from our team that you come out and you don’t play on your heels and you push hard and we went down by a goal but we got our game going like I said and we got a couple goals to win this for us.”

Bergeron modestly said postgame that he was just trying to get into the flow of the game after missing a healthy chunk of time with injury. But he certainly looked like he was vintage form once it crunch time. The timing was perfect as he stepped into the one-timer shot off Marchand’s pass, and beat Cory Schneider amid a strong 34-save performance by the kid from Marblehead.

“I mean I was just trying to, I guess, get my feet wet right away and use the first few shifts to kind of just get, feel good about my positioning and my skating,” said Bergeron. “As the game went on I just felt better. Of course you want to start on a good note, especially at home, and we talked about our home record in the last few years. We wanted to do the job early, especially in the first game, and it’s one step but we’re happy with it.”

It was like Bergeron didn’t miss a single beat after missing the first three games of the season with a lower body injury, and those kinds of instincts and natural ability are things worth marveling about when it comes to the Bruins.

“I was feeling good [on the ice],” said Bergeron. “It would have been nice to ride the wave of the World Cup, but that being said I thought in the first I was trying to be good position ally and kind of get myself going with the first few shifts, and just kind of go from there. Overall I thought that happened.”

While the comeback win was certainly good news for the Bruins, the best news of all is that Bergeron has returned to the lineup with no signs of an injury that surprised everybody right before the start of the regular season.