The Boston Bruins’ offense is struggling to score more than two goals per game over the last three weeks and the lack of power-play success is one reason why.
Boston’s power play dominated at times last season and finished with the third-best success rate at 21.7 percent, but the 2014-15 campaign has been a different story.
The B’s were 0-for-3 with the man advantage in Monday night’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. The Bruins now have failed to score on their last 14 power plays and have converted on just one of 20 opportunities over the last nine games.
Injuries to first-line center David Krejci and defenseman Zdeno Chara (who led Boston with 10 power-play goals last season), as well as the addition of inexperienced players to the two units are among the factors contributing to these struggles. Torey Krug, who led Boston with 19 power-play points a year ago, has just three (one goal, two assists) this season.
As a result, the Bruins rank 18th with a 17.7 percent conversion rate on the power play this season. The more troubling number is the 62 power-play opportunities for Boston through 25 games, which is the lowest total in the league.
The Bruins did show some improvement Monday night. They had 11 shots with the man advantage against the Ducks and created plenty of traffic in front of Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen’s crease. Zone entries also have recently improved, which is encouraging. Ten players received more than two minutes of power-play ice time versus Anaheim.
One problem area for the power play was faceoffs. The Ducks won seven of nine faceoffs during Bruins power plays and Patrice Bergeron went just 1-for-6 on attacking-zone draws with the man advantage. The B’s have won 54.4 percent of their power-play faceoffs on the season, so Monday’s results aren’t too much of a concern.
Overall, the Bruins’ power play hasn’t been horrible for most of this recent drought, but it needs to score goals at some point because the team’s 5-on-5 scoring is down from last season. The B’s ranked third with 179 5-on-5 goals in 2013-14 and are just 17th with 44 goals through 25 games this campaign.
This lack of 5-on-5 scoring combined with the power-play issues resulted in Boston averaging 1.66 goals over its last nine games. Luckily for the Bruins, quality goaltending from Tuukka Rask has helped the club survive this stretch with a 4-4-1 record.
There’s enough talent to score goals with the current lineup, so the B’s just need to keep building on the positives from Monday night’s power-play effort, which included a consistent net-front presence and aggressively putting pucks on net.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images