Strong penalty killing and contributions from the fourth line have helped the Boston Bruins get off to a solid start.
The Carolina Hurricanes, meanwhile, seem to have shaken off their lockout rust.
Boston looks to keep rolling Monday night when it visits Carolina, which swept all four meetings last season.
The Bruins (3-0-1) have killed off each of their short-handed situations, holding opponents scoreless on their 17 chances with the man advantage.
They stopped three of the Islanders' power-play opportunities in Friday's 4-2 victory, as fourth-liners Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell notched their first goals of the season.
Fellow fourth-liner Daniel Paille assisted on Thornton's first-period goal, and the trio has combined for six points.
"We have been playing together for the last two years (before this season), which is a rare thing in hockey," Campbell told the team's official website. "We accept our role and know our role. Sometimes it is not an easy job, but we are willing to help the team. It's a role we take pride in."
Their scoring has been a welcomed bonus to their regular duties as grinders.
"We've all talked about that line. That's a line that gets us going," said Patrice Bergeron, who scored his first goal Friday. "We've seen that in the past years and it's the same thing again. It's about getting momentum."
Boston, though, has converted only one of its 17 power-play chances and went 1 for 13 last season while being outscored 14-5 as each of the fourth-liners went scoreless in the four meetings with Carolina.
Eric Staal had a goal in each of the last three matchups for the Hurricanes (2-2-0), who swept Buffalo in a home-and-home set Friday and Saturday after being outscored 9-2 in losses to Florida and Tampa Bay.
Staal had a hat trick in Friday's 6-3 home victory and assisted on Jay Harrison's tiebreaking third-period goal in Saturday's 3-1 win.
"The first couple games was a push for us. We just didn't seem like we had our legs in game shape yet," coach Kirk Muller said. "These last couple games we're finding the team we were towards the end of last year."
Alexander Semin, who signed a one-year, $7 million deal in the offseason after spending seven years with Washington, scored his first goal Saturday. He scored three goals in the Capitals' seven-game first-round playoff victory over Boston last season.
"He's been great," Muller said. "He's engaged and looks like he's having fun.
"It's a new system for him so it's a little bit of an adjustment for him, but he easily could have seven or eight points this year. I just told him to keep shooting."
Tuukka Rask has a 1.96 goals-against average while starting each of Boston's four games, though it's unclear if he'll get the nod again Monday. He's 2-2-0 with a 2.68 GAA in five appearances - four starts - versus the Hurricanes.
|Back to top ↑|