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Bruins' penalty kill turns tide against Red Wings

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock compared his team's play on the power play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Boston Bruins to an "exercise in skating up and down the rink" Sunday.

The Bruins' ability to extinguish all four of Detroit's power plays was instrumental in Boston's 4-1 win that evened the series at 1-1 heading into Game 3 on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, NESN, FS-D) in Detroit.

"Yeah, we definitely got to keep that going," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said after an optional practice at TD Garden on Monday. "I think we've made some good adjustments. [Assistant coach Doug Jarvis has] been pretty good to tell us I guess what to do. And right now it's about getting used to the new guys that are killing. But it's been going well."

Through two games, the Bruins' penalty kill is 6-for-6 against a Red Wings power play that ranked 18th (17.7 percent) in the regular season. Of course, injuries to key players hindered Detroit before the playoffs started.

Boston ranked eighth in the regular season at 83.6 percent and has continued to do a solid job in the playoffs despite missing forwards Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly because of injuries. Paille and Kelly each averaged more than 1:25 of ice time shorthanded in the regular season.

The Bruins have reconfigured their forward pairs a bit. Bergeron and Brad Marchand have stuck together, but Gregory Campbell has been killing with rookie call-up Justin Florek, and Loui Eriksson has been paired with David Krejci, who averaged 38 seconds of penalty-kill time in the regular season. The defensemen, led by Zdeno Chara, have been solid as usual. Although often your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer, Tuukka Rask had to make just one save during the Red Wings' man-advantages in Game 2.

"Everything, I guess. They haven't scored yet, I don't think," Rask said about what's been working on the penalty kill. "We have good sticks, we're taking care of the middle and trying not to give them those seam passes, and then if they get shots we're trying to bounce on the loose pucks and win puck battles. I think everything has been pretty strong; the forecheck and stuff like that. We take a lot of pride in our penalty kill and so far it's been working. It's a huge thing throughout the season and especially in the playoffs, you need to have good special teams in order to move forward."

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