Corvo ready to shoot for the Bruins power play

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Corvo ready to shoot for the Bruins power play

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
Joe Corvo can guarantee one simple thing.

If he gets the puck while manning the point on the power play with a sliver of an opening, Corvo is going to let the puck fly.

The Bs power play was an exercise in futility and frustration last season while struggling through the regular season, and things really bogged down with the passive Tomas Kaberle on the man advantage. Everybody knew that Kaberle looking pass as his first, second and third option, and wasnt going to tee up any slap shots from the point even with a clear lane to the net.

Kaberle looks for the pass and looks to set guys up, said Corvo. If the shot is there Im going to take it most of the time. Power play goals arent usually those cute tic-tac goals. Power play goals are rebound goals and the more you hit the net and put it on goal, the more guys are going to be around the net and scored.

The Bruins coaching staff has pinpointed the passive point approach as one of the items to be improved on this seasons power play, and the former Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators defenseman is somebody that can help in those areas.

Obviously weve tried to bring in some personnel that we think is going to help us with the power play, said Claude Julien. Joe Corvo is a guy with a very heavy shot and hes always been known as a good power play guy. This past season it was a combination of things. It wasnt about pointing the finger at one thing or one person, but it was about a bunch of different things.

The one thing that we did see was the shooting from the point. We werent doing enough of that in certain games and we were encouraging certain players to do that. We saw that when we did that it worked for us.

Corvo fired off 191 shots while potting 11 goals for the Carolina Hurricanes last year, and has managed double digit goals three times in his career as a skilled offensive blueliner.

Armed with a nice heavy shot, Corvo will serve that role on the power play and would have ranked third in the Bruins in shots attempted last season behind only Zdeno Chara (264) and Patrice Bergeron (211) if hed been with the Bruins.

That kind of aggressiveness is exactly what the Bs are looking for and should get from Corvo provided the 34-year-old veteran can stay healthy long enough to skate somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 games.

From what I hear Im expected to play some power play time and bring some power play shots, said Corvo. Just moving the puck and skating the puck, and bringing some offensive flair to it while working with some of the offensive skill guys.

That in and of itself should allow the Bruins to improve a power play that succeeded only 16.2 percent of the time during the regular season and scored on only 10 out of 88 chances during the postseason.

The pressure shouldnt be all that high on Corvo because its pretty difficult to be any worse than that for the duration of this season, and good power play days should be dead ahead for the Bs.

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

Acciari, Heinen called back up to Bruins

Acciari, Heinen called back up to Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins made a few roster moves after a slogging 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche earlier this week, with an eye toward getting some competition going among the forward group, and perhaps spark a team struggling offensively.

Danton Heinen and Noel Acciari were brought up from Providence to skate with the big club on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena and gritty Anton Blidh was returned to the P-Bruins after a solid stint as a fourth-line energy guy for the Black and Gold. 

Jimmy Hayes and Colin Miller were the late skaters off the ice following morning skate, so those will be the healthy scratches for the Bruins with both Acciari and Heinen in the lineup for the Black and Gold tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden.

Heinen has been tearing it up for the P-Bruins lately with four goals and seven points in his past five games with a plus-2 rating, including a couple of two-goal games for a Providence team that’s starting to heat up. 

Otherwise, things looked fairly similar for the Black and Gold, who didn’t make any changes to the struggling top power-play unit that was a disaster on Thursday night in the first period. It was Patrice Bergeron in the bumper role, Ryan Spooner on the half-wall, David Backes at the front of the net and David Krejci and Torey Krug manning the point positions. 

Here are the Bruins projected line combos and D-pairings based on the morning skate: 

 
Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Heinen-Krejci-Backes

Spooner-Nash-Czarnik

Schaller-Moore-Acciari/Hayes

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-K. Miller

C. Miller

Rask

 

Bruins power play looking for some upgrade answers

Bruins power play looking for some upgrade answers

BOSTON - It would appear things can’t continue the way they are for the Bruins' power play. 

After a disastrous first period helped dig them a hole in a 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night, there was some pretty serious soul-searching going with a man-advantage that has been both toothless and mistake-prone on far too many nights. 

In the Colorado loss a couple of early power-play possessions, one that was completely ineffectual with zero meaningful possession or shots on net and then a second that turned into a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal, dropped the B’s into a hole they couldn’t climb out of. The shorthanded sequence was particularly damning with a desperate Torey Krug diving to keep a puck in the offensive zone, and then watching helpless as MacKinnon beat him to the loose puck and then took off down the ice behind the last line of B’s defense. 

Krug placed the blame on himself for the high-risk play at the offensive blue line, but it’s hard to wholly blame somebody that was using hustle to try and make something happen offensively. 

“I thought they were tired, and if I could keep it in then we keep them hemmed in and get them running around. At the end of the day, it’s a 50-50 play, but maybe early in my career, I learn that now and probably won’t do it anymore. Sometimes you’ve got to go through those things to learn,” said Krug. “It’s just one of those plays I thought instinctively I could get there and keep him hemmed in, and you could even tell when he went in on the breakaway that he was tired.

So, if I keep that in and we keep them hemmed in, hopefully we get a couple chances. But we’ve got to be better, some of our better players on our team, and we’ve got to take the onus on ourselves to start capitalizing on opportunities and changing the game for our team.”

Nobody is going to reasonably suggest that a dangerous power-play guy like Krug be removed from the special-teams unit, but clearly something needs to change. The Bruins are tied for 25th in the NHL on the power play with a 14.1 percent success rate, and they can’t blame lack of opportunities because they’re middle of the road when it comes to power-play chances this season. 

Only the Flyers, Stars and Blackhawks have allowed more shorthanded goals than the Bruins (four) in 28 games played as well, so the Black and Gold essentially aren’t playing good defense or offense on the power play this year. Krug saie that it’s a mindset thing and that the Bruins need to get back to the confident, energetic way they attacked penalty kills last season. 

“We want to make plays, we want to help our team. It’s not like we’re out there not trying to make plays or anything, but we just have to be better,” said Krug. “We’ve got to have better focus, crisper passes, making quick plays to the net and making things happen. I feel like right now we might just be standing there, [just kind of] static, just hoping that things are going to happen and we’re not making them happen. 

“So, we’ve got to change our mindset, and like I said, those guys on that unit are the guys that will go to work and make sure we’re better next time for our team.”

But it goes beyond simple approach. The Bruins lost their second-leading PP goal-scorer last season when Loui Eriksson signed with the Vancouver Canucks. Other top unit PP performers like David Krejci,  Krug and Ryan Spooner haven’t been as good this season. Still, perhaps the biggest reason is the all-around offensive disappearance of Patrice Bergeron, who had 12 goals and 13 assists on the PP last season for a team-best 25 power-play points. This season, Bergeron has one goal and two points on the PP in 25 games and has been neutralized by opposing penalty kills from his “bumper” position roving up and down the slot. 

The Bruins are determined to ride things out with Bergeron both five-on-five and on the PP, and rightfully so, given his quality, productive body of work with the Bruins. He’s Boston’s best player and you don’t ever go away from those guys. 

But Bergeron has been ordinary for the Bruins on the PP after being extraordinary last season, and not much is going to change with the B’s man advantage unless No. 37 begins to find the range, confidence and short-term quick burst that’s needed for the B’s power play to flow through him like a well-oiled scoring machine. A greater impact by David Backes on the net-front power play could help and an uptick in PP production from Krug, Krejci and Spooner would obviously be welcome for the Black and Gold. 

But the Bruins power play is designed to play off Bergeron’s many qualities and strengths when he’s at his best, and a big part of the B’s troubles and Bergeron’s troubles are linked together because No. 37 has been less than his best in a season that’s been challenging for him from the very beginning.