Bruins finally allow power-play goal after 24 straight stops


Bruins finally allow power-play goal after 24 straight stops

BOSTON -- The unthinkable happened on Tuesday night.

The Bruins allowed a goal while on the penalty kill.

Alright, so that's an exaggeration. A power-play goal isn't exactly an outrageous stat. But statistically-speaking, these Bruins simply just don't allow them.

The B's entered the game with the NHL's top penalty-killing unit, having killed off all 23 of their opposition's power plays. After killing off their first of the night in the first period of Tuesday night's 2-1 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins 24-straight kill streak ended, when David Clarkson re-directed a Marek Zidlicky shot from the left point midway through the second period, with 53 seconds left on a Devils power play.

The shot got by Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, and marked the first power-play goal the Bruins have allowed all season, snapping Boston's longest season-opening penalty-kill streak since 2001-02.

"Obviously the goal they scored, Rask couldn't really prevent," said Zdeno Chara. "That was a deflection. And other than that, he had a very strong performance."

"I didn't know who it was," said Rask. "I saw it hit a shaft of a stick. I saw it all the way, but then those kind of deflections, there's nothing really you can do. It either hits you or it doesn't. And this time it went in."

The Bruins went on to kill three more penalties, and are now 27-for-28 on the penalty kill this season. So even though they've allowed one, it still remains a solid unit.

That's because of their best penalty-killer.

"When you talk about being able to win games on a consistent basis, you have to rely on your goaltender," Julien said of Rask.

"He really made the key saves at the right time and kept us in the game, and allowed us to stay in the game."

"He was the difference-maker, especially in that first period," said Chara. "He made some good saves. He was very solid."

And even though they allowed a power-play goal, the penalty-kill remains very solid.

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

BRIGHTON, Mass – While the NHL debut for Charlie McAvoy is a matter of “when” rather than “if” at this point after agreeing to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) with the Boston Bruins, the jury is still out on Boston University center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and University of Notre Dame winger Anders Bjork become pros. 

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney says that Forsbacka-Karlsson has yet to make a “final decision” on his status for next season after BU’s elimination from the NCAA hockey tournament, and Bjork is readying for the Frozen Four this weekend along with the rest of his Fighting Irish teammates. The 20-year-old Forsbacka-Karlsson just wrapped up his sophomore season with the Terriers and posted 14 goals and 33 points in 38 games with a plus-11 rating, and has not given the Bruins any firm word on his plans for the immediate future. 

The urgency perhaps isn’t there for the Bruins to lock things up with Forsbacka-Karlsson right this second, because he wouldn’t be a factor for this year’s NHL team. 

Meanwhile the Bruins can’t do anything with the 20-year-old Bjork until at least the end of next weekend, but have been mightily impressed with a player that’s posted 21 goals and 52 points in 38 games for Notre Dame this season. Bjork had three assists in the game that propelled Notre Dame into the Frozen Four, and there would be a great deal of urgency for the Bruins to lock up a talented forward that might be able to help them right now. 

“I’ve been able to see [Bjork] a few times including the regional [in New Hampshire] last weekend, and he was outstanding. He played every other shift, he set up goals in the game and he’s had a really nice progression as a college player this season,” said Sweeney of the explosive Notre Dame junior, who was far and away the best player at B's development camp last summer. “They’ve done a fabulous job with their team, and hopefully they get to the Finals on Saturday against Harvard, and we get the best of both worlds seeing how our prospects play in the final game. He’s had a tremendous college career to this point, and we’re excited about his development.”

McAvoy is the front-burner issue for the Bruins at this point, but it would surprise exactly nobody if both Forsbacka-Karlsson and Bjork join him in Providence in the next couple of weeks as they wrap up their AHL season.