Bruins special teams makes impact on both ends of ice

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Bruins special teams makes impact on both ends of ice

RALEIGH, NC After much power play bashing over the last nine days, the Bruins special teams units finally found wonderful, beautiful victory harmony in the Monday night win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked about the power play goal scored in Bostons 5-3 win over the Hurricanes at PNC Arena, and gently reminded his questioner that the Bs had actually scored two power plays in the win.

The coach was asking who was counting, to which he replied sharp as a whip: I am.

Zdeno Chara had taken a bit off his normally lethal slap shot from the point and feathered a wrist shot through a Milan Lucic screen for a first period PP strike, and Tyler Seguin capped off the victory with an empty net power play score in the closing seconds of regulation.

In between the Bruins generated seven shots in their four power play possessions above and beyond the two scores, and enjoyed good possession and momentum out of both units. They even managed to set up for a screaming Tyler Seguin one-timer from the left circle that Cam Ward got a piece of with his pads.

The two PP scores make the Bruins a much more respectable 3-for-21 on the season that puts them in the middle of the pack at a 14 percent success rate.

That said, the Bruins still want to get much more consistency on the man advantage.

Julien agreed that Monday night was their best power play work of the season, but cautioned there will be more ups and downs over the 48-game schedule.

It was a good night for special teams. Our penalty kill again was outstanding. They have a good power play with guys that can shoot, but our PK was very aggressive, said Julien. It was nice to get that early PP goal with a great screen by Looch and good wrister by Chara.

There are going to be nights where its going to look better than others, and there will be nights where its going to be a struggle. But I like what weve done so far with the results. In four out of the five games I feel like weve moved the puck pretty well and hopefully we keep getting results.

David Krejci picked up an assist on Charas power play goal in the first period, and appears to be settling into his role on the opposite point as the 6-foot-9 captain on the first PP unit.

It was good to see. Zee made a good shot but it wouldnt have been possible if Lucic wasnt in front of the net, said Krejci. After that we had pretty good looks and good chances. We have to be happy with getting some goals, but were going to keep working on it so its better and better with each game.

Ancient hockey wisdom dictates that a teams special teams play is acceptable if both the PP and PK units total up to 100 percent, and the Bruins have been well above that while working with a perfect penalty kill unit. The Bs shorthanded crew is now 23-for-23 in kills and finally kicked in with their first shorthanded goal of the season in the first period. Zdeno Chara fed Brad Marchand cross-ice for a one-timer from the right face-off dot, and the Nose Face Killah hammered a shot under the crossbar for a lightning quick score.

Monday night marked the first time since a February 11, 2012 game against the Nashville Predators that the Bruins got special teams scores from both the penalty kill and the power play, but they hope its not the last time this season as they keep digging to improve both units working together in concert.

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

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McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.

The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.

“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”

McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”

That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.