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.

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.

 

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.