BOSTON — Tomas Kaberle is showing some signs of life.
He’s recorded an assist in each of the Bruins’ last two games, both wins, in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, which they lead three games to two over Montreal.
But there should still be more coming from Kaberle, who was brought in in early February to improve the Bruins’ puck-moving and power play.
Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said as much last week when he went on a local sports radio show and explained that he expected more from Kaberle. The veteran defenseman totaled just 1-8-9 in 24 regular-season games with Boston and didn’t record a point in the first three games of Boston’s series with the Canadiens.
In the aftermath of his contributing an assist in the Bruins’ dramatic 2-1 double-overtime win last night, Kaberle was asked about Chiarelli’s criticism and how he took it.
“I always put a lot of pressure on myself and hopefully I can prove why I’m here and why I would like to help out with every little thing I can do out on the ice,” he said at TD Garden, where a few Bruins stopped by to chat on a day off. “Obviously, I’m one of the guys on the PP and it would be nice to get something going there.”
The Bruins are the only team out of the 16 NHL clubs that hasn’t scored a power-play goal. Boston is 0-for-15. Even some recent alignment alterations haven’t helped Boston’s man-advantage.
Head coach Claude Julien and his staff has made some tweaks to its even-strength lineup, first by pairing Kaberle with rookie Adam McQuaid and then by limiting Kaberle’s ice time. In Game 4, he only logged 15:01 and in the double-OT game he skated just 21:10.
The less time might be the best way to maximize Kaberle’s skills and limit his costly errors. That might not make him worth the big bucks he’s expected to get in the summer as an unrestricted free agent, but for the Bruins’ cause right now it could be just enough to squeeze a significant contribution out of him.