BOSTON — The Boston Bruins’ power play, which was a real strength for the team last season, has been inconsistent and disappointing throughout most of the 2014-15 campaign.
The Bruins entered Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Stars with 122 power play opportunities, at least 25 fewer than every other team in the NHL.
Boston had four power plays and nine minutes of ice time with the man advantage versus Dallas, but the Original Six club was unable to score and gave up its first two shorthanded goals of the season. The B’s power play struggles played a key role in a 5-3 loss.
“I think carelessness is one of them,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said when asked about the issues on the power play. “Poor work ethic on the power play. When you looked at even the second goal, you know, our coming back and our two guys back there are just flat-footed and just kind of lackadaisical and very soft. Real disappointing that our power play was like that tonight.
“We talk about the lack of power plays we get, and tonight we get some and we don’t do anything with it. So we only have ourselves to look at and blame ourselves for this, not only the power play but this loss.”
The Bruins went on a five-minute power play at 3:43 of the first period when Stars forward Antoine Roussel took a major penalty and a game misconduct for cross checking Adam McQuaid in the throat area. It was a fantastic chance for the B’s to build an early lead, but poor execution and a sloppy pass along the blue line from Torey Krug to David Krejci allowed Vernon Fiddler to score on a shorthanded breakaway.
The Bruins also had a four-minute power play in the second period when Ryan Garbutt high-sticked Dougie Hamilton at 13:06, but they gave up the lead when Stars defenseman Trevor Daley scored a shorthanded goal just 36 seconds later. Carl Soderberg wiped out the remaining two minutes of that Bruins power play with a tripping penalty.
Soderberg drew a penalty at 11:31 of the third period with the Bruins trailing 4-3, but they had trouble entering the offensive zone cleanly and tallied zero shots on goal.
The main problems for the Bruins on the power play included poor passing, mishandling pucks, not being aggressive enough in looking to shoot and failing to complete clean zone entries. When the Bruins dumped the puck into the attacking zone, they didn’t win enough battles along the boards to prevent the Stars from clearing the puck.
These are some reasons why the Bruins tallied just nine shots despite having nearly 10 minutes of power play time. As a result, they now rank 20th in the league with a 17.6 percent success rate with the man advantage.
These struggles need to be addressed as soon as possible because Boston is headed on a five-game Western Conference road trip beginning Friday that includes matchups against two of the league’s top four penalty kills in the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. The B’s rank 30th in road power play goals (seven) and 29th in road power play percentage (11.7).
“It is something we need to get right and we don’t have much time,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “We need to turn this thing around really quickly. It is unacceptable to be getting scored on twice in one game (shorthanded) obviously in a crucial part of the game. We need to be better.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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