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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Special teams were just that -- special

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- A big reason the Boston Bruins were successful in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Buffalo Sabres came down to special teams.

Basically, it was Boston’s penalty-killing unit that proved crucial as it killed off all 19 of Buffalo’s man-advantages in this series. Being perfect on the PK was a turning point for the Bruins, especially in Game 6 Monday night at TD Garden, when Boston needed to stifle the Sabres’ power play three times.

“We take a lot of pride in our PK,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “We’re obviously aggressive, but at the same time we’re well-positioned. The people we have on the ice, those are the workers and we try to always outwork the opposite power play.”

Not only in Game 6, but for the entire series it was the relentless play from the penalty-killing unit that gave the Bruins confidence when they did put themselves in the box. It seemed like every time they killed a penalty, it gave them a boost.

“It’s important in the playoffs to use your power play, and if you can kill their power play, then that’s even better,” said Bruins forward Miroslav Satan. “Both special teams did great. Overall good performances from everybody.”

On the other side of special teams, the Bruins’ power play finally snapped to it after a horrible ending to the regular season. Boston was 6-for-22 on the power play against the Sabres, including a pair of goals while on the man-advantage Monday night.

“First of all, killing those penalties allowed us to stay in the game, and the power play being better than it had been during the regular season allowed us to get back into the game as far as tying it up at times, and even winning it for us,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Those special teams were good -- there’s no doubt about it. We’re happy with both, and you need everybody in every situation going well if you’re going to keep moving forward.”