Special teams getting the job done for Bruins
The season couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Bruins as they have gone on to win their first two games of the 2013-14 season outscoring their opponents a combined 7-2 in those two games. A big reason as to why the Black and Gold have been so successful thus far has been because of the way they have played on special teams.
The Bruins are a perfect seven-for-seven on the penalty kill with Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron scoring shorthanded goals. On the man advantage the Bruins are an impressive two-for-seven with a goal each being scored by Torey Krug and Captain Zdeno Chara.
It should come to no surprise that the Bruins are off to a great start on the penalty kill as they have been one of the league’s best over the past several years, but (so far) a solid power play is huge for the B’s. The Bruins are trying something new this season by using Chara down low as oppose to Chara playing the point as he has always done in his career, and even though it wasn’t exactly how they drew it up on his goal, the move worked well for the Bruins in their 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings last Saturday.
“Yeah, again, the other night [Thursday vs. Tampa Bay] we just couldn’t get in, we talked about that. But tonight [Saturday vs. Detroit] we seemed a little bit better, a little sharper and the shots were getting through” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
“Zdeno [Chara] did a great job on that first one; great screen and obviously a great play on that second goal as well – second power play goal. So our power play was good and we’ve added some bodies that seem to fit in well now in regards to that part of our game.”
Those bodies that Julien mentioned are names like Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson and Krug. The Bruins got a glimpse of what Krug can do on the power play during last year’s playoffs and it seems like Krug has picked up right where he left off.
“It’s a big part of it”. You heard me mention before, Zdeno was on the point because we felt we didn’t have a ton of other options, but now we do” added Julien. “And you’ve added a [Dougie] Hamilton to your group, you’ve added a [Torey] Krug and the mobility has increased back there. So that allows us to move him into a position that we thought he’d be better suited for us.”
For guys like Chris Kelly who don’t see time on the power play, it’s certainly fun to watch when the power play is clicking.
“I love watching the power plays, especially when they’re clicking” said Kelly.
“That was two huge goals for us tonight, and it ended up being the difference. They’re moving the puck around well and they’re all working the penalty kill and that’s a major thing when you’ve got a power play that goes out there, and it’s your best players on the power play, and when they go out there and out-work the other team’s penalty kill good things are going to happen.”
When you throw out veteran guys like Bergeron, Kelly, Chara and Gregory Campbell on the power play, it becomes pretty easy to kill off penalties. According to Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, those are not the only guys who deserve credit.
“Yeah, well, when you get new players in, I’m sure you know they’re going to be penalty killers or they’re going to be power play guys so it’s not going to be a shock for them to kill penalties. But a lot of credit goes to the coaches you know, who puts the structure together and who’ve just done a great job with that, with Jarvy [Coach Jarvis] over the years, and it’s paid off for us.”
The Bruins return to the ice Thursday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche have been solid on special teams as well to start the season has they too are a perfect seven-for seven on the penalty kill. Colorado has scored twice this year in 12 tries with the man advantage.