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Bruins' power play still a glaring issue

Bruins' power play still a glaring issue

Milan Lucic and the Bruins have not had great luck on the power play, despite their recent hot streak in the win column. (Getty Images) Milan Lucic and the Bruins have not had great luck on the power play, despite their recent hot streak in the win column. (Getty Images)

Not everything was pretty about the Bruins’ four-game sweep over the Penguins.

In fact, the biggest problem with the Bruins in the postseason is the same one they had on their way to the Cup two seasons ago (although they overcame it).

The B’s are once again doing their part to cut power and reduce carbon pollution in our world – the power play is still weak.

Boston goes into the Stanley Cup ranked 10th out of all the playoff teams in power play percentage at 15.6 percent (7-for-45). It hasn’t always been that bad though. Going into the series against the Penguins, the B’s were scoring on the PP at a 21.8-percent rate, but an 0-for-13 performance in the ECF ruined that.

The Bruins have gotten away with a weak power play, but then again, so have their Stanley Cup Finals opponents in the Blackhawks. In fact, Chicago’s 13.7 percent (7-of-45) success rate is even worse than the B’s, and places Chicago 12th out of 16 playoff teams.

But where both teams have struggled on the power play, they’ve shined on the penalty kill. The Bruins gave up five power-play goals in their opening round series against the Maple Leafs, but since then have given up only two goals (both to the Rangers) in 31 chances. They shut out a Penguins team that led the league in PP goals (13) heading into the series.

“We knew [Pittsburgh] had such a good power play, that we had to be extremely good if we wanted to get a chance to win this series against their power play,” Claude Julien told reporters after Game 4. “We made adjustments even after every game.

“They did the same to us. Were there some scoring chances? Absolutely. When there was, I think goaltenders on both sides made some big saves.”

For the postseason, the B’s are killing power plays 86.5 percent of the time (45-of-52), but over the last two series’ that number grows to 93.5 percent (29-of-31). Even 93.5-percent doesn’t match where Chicago’s penalty kill is, however. The Blackhawks are No. 1 in the postseason on the PK, killing off a staggering 94.7 percent (54-of-57) of them.

With both teams playing the way they are on special teams, expect more five-on-five damage than anything else.

“I'm not really worried about the power play,” Julien said. “If it was only our team, I'd be worried. It seems to be a trend throughout the playoffs here.

“I just find that power plays seem to be a little overrated as far as that's concerned.”

 
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