Bruins Need to Find a Way to Get Dreadful Power Play Back on Track

Bruins Need to Find a Way to Get Dreadful Power Play Back on Track

One day at a time. That is what the Boston Bruins have to keep telling themselves. After losing three games in a row, they had their backs against the wall and faced another wall of adversity. The roles are reversed, and this time the Bruins are the team aiming to climb out of a 3-1 hole they dug for themselves.

The Bruins grinded it out in Game 5 and showed how desperate they were in order to win a hockey game. It was arguably their best defensive performance as a team and goaltender Jeremy Swayman returned to his Game 1 form. Bruins forward Morgan Geekie said it best after the game and how they were able to dig deep and get a win.

“We had a lot of guys dig in for the last two…great effort from everybody up and down.”

It was a great effort and it’s that kind of effort it’s going to take to win two more games against a strong Florida Panthers team. However, if they are going to secure a victory, the Bruins are going to need to figure out how to capitalize on the power play.

Bruins’ Power Play Started Red Hot

If there was anything that was scorching hot for the Bruins to begin the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was their power play. To begin the first round series, the Toronto Maple Leafs made numerous trips to the penalty box (14) and gave the Bruins ample opportunity to cash in. The Bruins did just that, as they scored six power play goals in the first four games of the series. In Game 1, they made certain to capitalize, as the Maple Leafs made five trips to the penalty box. What was a weaker penalty kill for the Maple Leafs, helped the Bruins find life with the man advantage. Also, it was not that the Bruins scored goals but when the goals came. When the Bruins got the power play, they capitalized and it helped them extend the lead further or give them the lead. In the playoffs, that can be a huge advantage against an undisciplined team.

The Bruins’ power play was among the best in the NHL through the first four games of the playoffs. This was a unit that was playing with confidence and finally found their mojo in the series. Among all playoff teams, they had the fourth most shot attempts, the second most shots on goal, and generated the most expected goals. As a unit, they exceeded their expectations and were able to find the back of the net. One area they made sure to exploit was the high-danger area. They found real estate there, generated six shots on goal and scored three of their goals from that area of the ice.

The Bruins ended their season poorly with the power play, but they found new life in the first four games of the playoffs. However, teams make adjustments and after Game 4, the Maple Leafs did just that. It’s something the Bruins have yet to recover from, as the power play looks much different than when the playoffs first started.

Bruins’ Inefficiency on the Power Play Needs to Improve

After finding life with the man advantage, things have taken a much darker turn for the Bruins. One thing good coaches do is make adjustments to find better ways to have success. You have to tip your cap to Sheldon Keefe, as the Maple Leafs’ penalty kill smothered the Bruins’ power play for the remainder of the series. That proved to be a good thing, as the games were closely contested the rest of the way. However, the Bruins’ misfortunes have continued into the second round against the Panthers.

The Panthers’ penalty kill has been stellar, as they’ve only allowed one goal when the Bruins have had the man advantage. In addition, the Bruins have been woeful with the man advantage, as they’ve gone 1-18 since Game 5 against the Maple Leafs. That’s brutal and there’s no way around that. Considering the success they had in the first four games of Round 1, things have looked different and not in a good way.

Since Game 5 of the first round, the Bruins have generated only 36 shot attempts, which is five fewer than what they did in the first four games to open the playoffs. Not to mention, they’ve played four more games. When you watch the power play take the ice, it looks at times like they can get nothing going, as they have just 17 shots on goal and only eight coming from the high-danger areas of the ice. As a unit, they are still finding their looks, but they are not expected to score.

It is much uglier in that regard, as the Bruins have generated only 2.45 expected goals, which is a significant drop-off from the first four games of the playoffs. What also makes this stretch worse is that the opposition is getting their chances while shorthanded. In all power play situations, the Bruins have the third-lowest Corsi for percentage and have seen the opposition generate 11 shot attempts. They’ve also seen a shorthanded goal go against them. It certainly has not been good and the Bruins will need the power play to come through in the next two elimination games.

Bruins Need the Power Play to Be a Weapon

With two potential elimination games on deck, the Bruins need to figure out how to regain momentum on the power play. It has been stagnant and almost to the point where you wish you could decline the power play.

If the Bruins can get back to their form of the first four games of the playoffs, this can be huge when the opportunity presents itself. This series with the Panthers has been chippy and the officials are not shy about sending players to the box. Whether the Bruins find themselves down a goal or can break the tie and have a power play, they need to find better ways to generate offense. Or it could be the difference in going home or forcing Game 7.

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