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CHICAGO (AP) -- When it comes to power plays in the Stanley Cup finals, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins might just prefer to keep going with everyone on the ice.
The last two teams in the NHL playoffs have been lousy with the man advantage and terrific at killing penalties during the postseason.
When the Blackhawks are forced to play a man down, Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger are so persistent it almost resembles an even-strength situation. And the Bruins have hulking defenseman Zdeno Chara and goalie Tuukka Rask, who is swallowing everything at the net these days.
Heading into Game 1 on Wednesday night, goals on special teams have been so scarce for these teams that a couple for either side could tip the series in one direction.
"The special teams are kind of key, if you want to (have) success," Frolik said after Chicago held an optional practice on Monday. "We try to talk about it all the time about that and make sure we're on the same page. It's especially going to be key right now. We've got to make we are ready for the challenge."
So far, so good on that front for the Bruins and Blackhawks.
With Frolik and Kruger tying up the action on top of the zone, Chicago has allowed just three goals in 58 power-play opportunities for an astounding 94.8 percent kill rate. Los Angeles got two of them in the Western Conference finals, but one was a meaningless goal by Tyler Toffoli at the very end of the Blackhawks' 4-2 victory in Game 2.
The 92.5 percent finish for the 2000 New Jersey Devils is the best playoff rate for a Stanley Cup champion in the last 25 years, according to STATS.
"I think they do a good job of fronting shots," Boston coach Claude Julien said of Chicago's penalty killers. "You really have to work hard to get the shots through. That's what they are, they're very patient; they're very aggressive when you do lose, I guess, control of the puck and if they feel they can get on you, they'll get on you quick. They've done a good job that way."
Pittsburgh had converted an NHL-best 28.3 percent of its power-play chances heading into the Eastern Conference finals against Boston, but the high-powered Penguins went 0 for 15 with the man advantage during the Bruins' impressive four-game sweep.
One of the lasting images from Boston's postseason run came with Pittsburgh on the power play in the second period of Game 3. Bruins forward Gregory Campbell broke his right leg when he dove to block Evgeni Malkin's hard shot, then limped around for more than 30 seconds until Boston cleared the zone and he was able to get off the ice.
Campbell's gutsy display served as inspiration for the Bruins, and they went on to finish off the Penguins with a 1-0 victory on Friday. But Campbell will miss the remainder of the playoffs, presenting a challenge for the series against Chicago.
"It just means some other guys have to step in and do the job," Julien said. "(Campbell) is an elite penalty killer for us. Like anything else, when you lose a player like that it certainly hurts your team. But at the same time, there's also guys that come up and step up and do a great job just like our young Ds did when our three Ds were hurt."
When it comes to scoring on Boston, whether it's even strength or on the power play, the last line of defense may be the most difficult one to solve. Rask has been terrific throughout the playoffs, making an NHL-best 497 saves.
Led by the 26-year-old Finn, Boston has yielded seven goals in 52 power-play opportunities for an 86.5 percent kill rate in the postseason.
"We're facing a goalie that in the last round was as good as any of the goalies we've seen over a segment of two years in the playoffs," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
While the penalty killing has been great for both sides, the power play for the Blackhawks and Bruins has been, well, powerless. Each team has seven goals with the man advantage in the playoffs. Boston had an NHL-worst 18 power-play goals during the regular season, compared to 25 for Chicago.
Quenneville and Julien have faced a running stream of questions about the lack of production, and that's likely to continue in this series - especially with the PK units on each side.
Few details are being released, but the Kirkwood School District Band Director is leaving his post after allegations of misconduct.
Superintendent Tom Williams sent a letter to parents announcing the resignation of Jason Rekittke. The letter says there was an act of "inappropriate conduct with a student", but the incident happened years ago.
Williams said the district could not discuss specifics on the matter.
The letter from Superintendent Williams is below:
Dear Kirkwood School District Families,
I am writing this e-mail to announce the resignation of Jason Rekittke, the band director for the Kirkwood School District. The resignation is due to an act of inappropriate conduct with a student, which happened several years ago. We believe this was an isolated incident.
Our first and most important mission is to provide the best education to help our students be successful. However, this cannot be accomplished without a safe and secure learning environment. While we cannot discuss the specifics of any personnel matter, please be assured that we have strict policies prohibiting inappropriate conduct toward students and we take immediate action upon receiving reports of any violation of those policies.
Thank you for your continued support of the Kirkwood School District. If you have any concerns for your child, you may contact me at 314.213.6100, ext. 7801.
Dr. Tom Williams
Superintendent of Schools
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A state audit says Missouri paid more than $170,000 to child-care providers that did not open or expand their facilities as planned.
The report released Monday by Auditor Tom Schweich looks at grants provided through a Department of Social Services program during the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.
The audit says one facility received $22,500 to open an in-home child-care facility that no children attended. Another facility got $60,000 for a center that never was built. A third facility was paid $89,000 to expand but did not add as many children as projected and then sold the facility.
The department says the program no is longer funded by the Legislature. It sent letters in April seeking repayment from two of the facilities but said the third one met contractual obligations.
A contractor working on the Blanchette Bridge died after an accident Monday morning.
Just before 11 AM, the worker was hit by a large barrel. He died from his injuries. The man has not been identified, but was an employee of Walsh Construction--they were hired to perform the bridge repairs.
Crews were set to close the exit ramp from westbound 70 to southbound Fifth Street for work Monday night, but that project has been postponed.