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Bruins Fine-Tune the Power Play

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
WILMINGTON, MA – In the last three games, the Boston Bruins have gone 1-9 on power play opportunities – not exactly what is expected from a team, which, at one point, ranked fifth in the league with a 19.7 percent power play efficiency.

So when the Bruins hit the ice for practice at Ristuccia Arena Friday, it came as no surprise that Head Coach Claude Julien put a heavy emphasis on special teams.

“I feel we’re really fighting with the execution,” Julien said. “What should be an easy pass ends up being a tough pass. In the first period [Thursday], there was probably a minute left and the ice isn’t that great, but the D-to-D passes were going over the stick and out of the zone, and simple passes weren’t there.

“You got to be able to execute those good passes and make the plays under pressure.”

Although the Bruins won the game 4-3 in overtime, the special team’s troubles continued as they finished 0-3 with a man-advantage.

The biggest troubles came Tuesday night against Ottawa, when the Bruins failed to convert on a crucial power play opportunity late in the game.

They had a man-advantage in the final two minutes, and in the waning seconds, goaltender Tim Thomas was pulled. However, the Bruins still couldn’t score on a 6-on-4 and lost the game 1-0, and finished the game 0-4 on the power play.

Johnny Boychuk, who took part in today's power play work, said that the biggest issue was making clean passes.

“[We need to] just get crisp passes – just work it I guess and get confidence back up on the PP,” he said.

Boychuk Back on the Ice
Today marked the third consecutive day Boychuk skated, after skating on his own Wednesday, and with the team during Thursday’s optional morning skate.

He said he is feeling better, but there is still an uncertainty as to when he will return.

“No issues today,” Boychuk said. “I felt good out there, just to get out and skate with the whole team and all the guys was nice.

“I’ll see what the doctors say.”

However, Julien said he'd consult with the B's medical staff and wouldn't speculate on when Boychuk will return or if he needed a practice with contact prior to re-entering the lineup.

“If they tell me he needs contact, we’ll have to give him a practice with contact," said Julien. “He’s had some good skates lately, so I guess right now its just waiting to hear from our doctors – whether he’s cleared all those protocols he has to go through.

"And if he doesn’t, we’ll be ready to put him back in at some point.”

Other Injury Updates
After leaving Thursday’s game in the third period, defenseman Andrew Ference wasn’t at practice Friday.

In yesterday’s postgame press conference, Julien called it a lower body injury, and at practice he addressed it as a day-to-day situation.

“Day-to-day is all I’ve been told by my trainers,” he said. “I’m not going to rule him out for tomorrow, but won’t know if he’ll be going also.”

Julien also addressed forward Rich Peverley’s recovery, and said the B’s forward is still on the 4-6 weeks timetable.

Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was not at practice, but is not injured. Julien said he told Chara to take the day off.

--- Anthony Gulizia
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