Video by Biz Jacobs
BOSTON – Special teams is usually a key emphasis in any given hockey game. Against the Hurricanes today, the Bruins special teams were severely lacking.
In their 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on “Black Friday” at TD Garden, the Bruins special teams blacked out, as they were a combined 0-for-7 on the power play and penalty kill.
Things didn’t start out that badly for the Black and Gold, however, as they created several good chances on Canes goaltender Cam Ward as they outshot Carolina, 12-6. Nathan Horton had the best chance of the game in the middle of the opening stanza, but his shot from the faceoff circle hit the post.
Then, Carolina’s power play, which went 3-for-3 in the contest, took over when Blake Wheeeler was called for holding at 18:51 of the first. After Dainel Paille – who filled Jordan Caron’s spot in the lineup – mishandled the puck on a shorthanded opportunity, the Canes went right down the ice and rookie forward Jeff Skinner put a dagger in the Bruins heart to put his team ahead, 1-0.
“We got a bad bounce, but I thought we played pretty well in the first period,” Horton said. “We obviously don’t like playing from behind and we want to get that first goal. We tried to do that and we played pretty well, but we had a tough bounce at the end. But if we played the whole game like that, we would’ve won.”
From there, the nightmare continued, as the 17,565 in attendance got more and more restless.
The Canes got their second power play goal when Andrew Ference was called for tripping at 9:11 – just 10 seconds after they killed off Erik Cole’s penalty for interference at 7:01. After the Bruins spent the majority of the time in their own zone during the Canes man advantage, Tuomo Ruutu, who played in his 400th career game, scored his fifth goal of the season at 11:09.
Jussi Jokinen capped off the scoring with his power play goal and fifth tally of the season at 7:52.
Even though the Bruins penalty kill didn’t get the job done, Bruins head coach Julien couldn’t put a finger on what exactly went wrong on the penalty kill when he was asked what kind of adjustments needed to be made during his postgame press conference.
“’What Adjustments should I have made when we gave up our first power play goal?’” said the Bruins coach. “The second one we couldn’t get the puck out and I know Zdeno [Chara] was there for the majority of that PK and we couldn’t make a good change. Sometimes it’s not much, but its enough to create some goals, and that’s one of the things that cost us today.”
On the other hand, the Bruins had four power plays of their own, but they couldn’t convert on any of them. The power play went 0-for-4 against Carolina and they could only muster six shots on goal on the man advantage.
And while the Bruins showed a little bit of promise in their last two power plays, they still couldn’t get many clean looks at Ward, who earned his second career shutout against the Black and Gold.
“Our first couple of power plays we weren’t getting great entry, but we had great entry in our last couple of power plays,” Horton said. “We just need to get set up and we need to get pucks to the net. Pucks were bouncing everywhere and we just tried to get them. Obviously we needed a power play goal today.”