Penalty kill saves the day

January, 21, 2013
1/21/13
8:23
PM ET
BOSTON -- Since Claude Julien arrived in Boston in the 2007-08 season, defense and the penalty kill have been the bread and butter of the Bruins system. The team is consistently near the top of the league in penalty killing and that has helped them win plenty of games.

[+] EnlargeTuukka Rask
AP Photo/Michael DwyerTuukka Rask held the fort, but got help from the penalty killers at critical times.
It appears that will be the case again this season as the penalty kill enabled the team to get to overtime and then the shootout, setting up a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday at TD Garden. The Bruins killed all four of the Jets' power plays, but the most important kills came at the end of regulation and the end of overtime.

Johnny Boychuk was sent off for high-sticking with 1:11 left in regulation and Zdeno Chara was called for holding 3:32 into overtime creating perfect chances for the Jets to fly out of Boston with a win. But the Bruins killed off both penalties.

"That’s what made the difference today," Julien said. "I thought our penalty kill has been good the first two games, five-on-three the last game against the Rangers, and then two four-on-threes today. Especially in overtime, it was a tough call. To have to kill that to finish the game, our guys did a great job. The two D’s that were out there, but also [Patrice Bergeron] and [Chris Kelly] switching out front. They were breaking up a bunch of plays once they got over the blue line. Again, probably a good reason why we’re sitting here today with a win."

The Bruins have killed all nine power plays they've faced this season and alternate captain Patrice Bergeron credits that to communication and instinct.

"I think we all know where to be. We communicated out on the ice," Bergeron said. "Coach also does a great job to make it more black and white. It’s about instincts and just making sure you do the right plays. It’s important that we do a good job on the PK, especially in overtime like that. It happened twice and we found a way. So let’s give credit to everyone that was on the ice, but also [Tuukka Rask], he made some great saves for us."

The Bruins likely will need to keep up that success in their next game, Wednesday against the Rangers in New York. The Rangers had five power plays in the Bruins' 3-1 win Saturday.

James Murphy

Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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