Saturday, March 27, 2010
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- During his press conference on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, Bruins forward Marc Savard made a comment about the team’s lackluster effort on the power play of late.
Boston’s top playmaker has been out of the lineup since suffering a Grade 2 concussion against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 7 and is lost for the remainder of the regular season. Without his presence on the power play, the Bruins entered Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames 0-for-22 on the PP in the last eight games.
“Obviously I’d like to get back and help my team, especially on the power play,” Savard said, with general manager Peter Chiarelli sitting next to him.
Well, maybe just having Savard’s presence in the building prior to the game (he didn’t stay for the matinee tilt) was all the Bruins needed.
Boston scored three power-play goals to snap its skid en route to a 5-0 victory over the Flames.
The transformation began at practice. Boston coach Claude Julien had both power-play units spend the first 20 minutes of practice Friday morning at Ristuccia Arena working on the PP. The units worked on quick puck movement and getting quality shots and traffic to the front of the net. The unique aspect of the drills is that there were no defenders or goalies at either end of the ice.
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg scored his first goal as a Bruin since coming over from Florida in a trade last month. He blasted a slap shot from the top of the circle that found its way past screened Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff at 14:08 of the first period.
Bruins forward David Krejci notched the team’s second power-play tally on a similar play at 1:29 of the second period. His slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle went top right corner on Kiprusoff and gave Boston a 2-0 advantage.
The Bruins padded their lead when Zdeno Chara added the team’s third power-play goal at 6:15 of the second period.
“The big thing was our power play and giving us that three-goal cushion was huge,” said Julien. “We made better play selections. We moved the puck a lot better, tape-to-tape, and then when we had an opportunity to shoot, we shot the puck. We had some net-front presence today, so all those things we were struggling at were better tonight.”
Julien said the power-play unit has also been looking at video and was able to clarify some things before Saturday’s game.
“It worked,” said Julien. “You gotta hope it keeps going like that.”
A scenario that really seemed to work for Boston was having a big-bodied Milan Lucic camped out in front of the net.
“We needed some good net-front presence and he’s one of those guys,” said Julien. “Before the last couple of weeks, every time he had the puck he was fighting it and his play selection was getting stripped, so it wasn’t the right time. You can’t put a guy on the power play when he’s trying to find his game, but he’s been so much better lately and it warranted an opportunity because he’s the type of player we needed in that position. He did a great job.”