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Blue liner in no rush

Moran meeting his goals -- on defense

DENVER -- Through seven games, the name of Bruins defenseman Ian Moran has yet to appear on the scoresheet, but his contributions have been noticed by coach Mike Sullivan.

"He's been one of our most consistent defensemen," said Sullivan, whose team beat the Colorado Avalanche, 4-1, last night at the Pepsi Center. "He's one of those guys who you know what you're going to get from him every night. He's a pretty steady guy. He competes hard. I think his presence in the locker room is invaluable to us."

Even though Moran hasn't had anything to show for his offensive efforts, he has had several solid scoring chances, particularly against the Mighty Ducks on Sunday.

"He's playing with confidence, and we're trying to encourage our defensemen to join the rush and do it in a responsible manner," said Sullivan. "I think he's a guy who's pretty calculated and he's gotten some chances as a result. His leadership in the locker room, he's one of those guys who never shuts up out there and that's something we're trying to encourage from our players. We have to be a group who's going to talk more and communicate more, and that makes you a better team."

Moran and fellow blue liner Dan McGillis came to Boston March 11, at last season's trade deadline, and walked into a chaotic situation. General manager Mike O'Connell had just fired coach Robbie Ftorek a week earlier, and the Bruins were struggling.

"It's never an easy thing for a player to join a club in the middle [of the year] like that," said Sullivan. "It's more into personalities and new faces, coming in and trying to assimilate and feel comfortable."

The 31-year-old Moran, who grew up in Acton, Mass., said he was happy to make the move to his hometown team.

"It was an easy team to come in to in terms of personnel with the guys," said Moran. "But it was different with Robbie getting fired and going through a coaching change that way."

He said the key to his game is no mystery.

"I just try to keep it simple," he said. "We've got good forwards with a lot of skill, so I just try to get the puck in their hands and let them do the work. With the size they have and how good they are down low, it's simple. You just try to keep the puck in their end, and I'm sure that's what every defenseman tries to do."

And if the points come, they'll come while he's playing defense first.

"They definitely want us jumping up and joining the rush," said Moran. "I think it just makes it more confusing for the other team's defense. The more options our forwards have, the better plays they can make."

Loud and clear

Through the first six games, the Bruins surrendered 11 power-play goals on 36 man-advantage situations, prompting Sullivan to lament that the penalty killing had to be better. Last night against the dangerous Avalanche, his team apparently heard him. They killed off all four power plays. "I thought they did a great job against a terrific power play," said Sullivan. "I thought the last few games, they've got some goals scored against them but they really did a pretty good job killing. They got a couple of bad breaks in the last game against Anaheim but that's going to happen. As long as we're doing the right things out there and putting pressure on teams, I can see our penalty killing getting better on a game-by-game basis." . . . The loss sparked a team meeting among the Avalanche. "We're very disappointed," said center Joe Sakic. "We've got a lot of skill here but when we don't play together and we don't play smart and simple, we're going to get beat and that's what happened tonight." . . . Bruins center Travis Green played in his 800th NHL game last night . . . Rookie forward Marek Svatos, Colorado's leading scorer in the exhibition season, will have surgery on his left shoulder and could miss the rest of the regular season.

Material from Associated Press was used in this report.

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