BOSTON — For the NHL’s team-leaders on the penalty-kill entering this afternoon’s game — 90.5 percent success rate — you’d expect it to fare well against the league’s then 21st ranked power play.
But the Boston Bruins allowed an uncharacteristic three goals-against on three Carolina Hurricanes power play attempts; this after successfully killing off their previous 18 consecutive times short.
A couple of bad bounces and some bad positional plays resulted in the Bruins’ 3-0 loss to the ‘Canes this afternoon at the TD Garden.
“It’s tough to put a finger on it,” said Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who is one of the team’s key members on the penalty-kill.
“Our PK has been one of our strong points and its frustrating when they get three power play goals in the game. We didn’t do our job. You could say that there were a couple of bounces there, but at the end of the day we didn’t do our job.”
Although the team was far from great on special teams, Marchand, who was on the ice for the Hurricanes’ third goal of the game, still gave a lot of credit to their power play units — such as Eric Stall and Jussi Jokinen, who were on the ice for that third goal while leading Carolina’s forwards in power play ice time.
“They’re a very skilled team, especially on the power play,” said Marchand. “There are a lot of guys that can do some damage. I thought we worked pretty hard, but they made some nice plays, they got a couple of nice goals.
“There’s going to be days when you do better than others. But there’s no time where you won’t accept three goals on the power play.”
Marchand takes pride and enjoys killing penalties, which is one of the reasons why he made the big club out of this year’s training camp. This afternoon, the 22-year-old winger, normally paired with Gregory Campbell on the PK — logged 1:54 of time on the shorthand…up about 20 seconds from his season average.
“A lot [of pride],” he said.”We love killing penalties. To win games you have to kill penalties.”
Head coach Claude Julien was none-too-please with the overall effort of his club’s special teams. Not only did the penalty-kill go 0-for-3 (the first time they’ve allowed three power play goals in a game since Apr. 9, 2009 against the Canadiens), but the Bruins extended their dismal power play to just two goals in their last 15 attempts after going 0-for-4 today.
“Our special teams, really, were unacceptable tonight,” said Julien in this afternoon’s post game press conference. “The PK is supposed to bail out out. They’ve done a pretty good job throughout the year. But tonight, you give them three goals on three attempts, that’s not acceptable.”
“So that’s one of the things, and then progressively the rest of our game seemed to fall apart.”
With the loss, the Bruins have dipped to 4-5-1 at home, and 2-2-1 in post-Thanksgiving Day matinées.
The Bruins’ penalty-kill is still over 85-percent successful over the past three seasons. One hiccup in the road shouldn’t discourage this defense-first team, but rather be a valuable learning experience in what not to do again.