After starting the playoffs 0-30 on the power play, Zdeno Chara blasted home the Bruins first power play goal in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers.
In the Bruins series clinching Game 4 win, the Bruins once again struck with the extra man, this time off the stick of Milan Lucic.
With two power play goals in as many games, it looked like the Bruins power play had finally gotten on track; well that excitement was quickly put to rest.
The Bruins are once again left scratching their heads after a 0-4 performance on the power play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
During the eight day period between games, the Bruins key focus in practice was the power play, and for head coach Claude Julien, he knows that they can’t keep getting by without scoring on the power play.
“Well I mean, we had time to work on our whole game, and I didn’t think our execution on the power play is what really hurt us, especially at the beginning. When you have your best players out there you have to execute better. And we’ve got to get our shots through, we need some traffic in front of the net, and that’s the part that wasn’t there. But a lot of that, the same thing, five-on-five, people are going to say we were okay but okay isn’t good enough at this time of year. We need to be better and we know that, and that’s what we’re aiming for, for Game 2.” said Julien.
All postseason long Julien has mixed up who he sends out there on the power play, and still the squad has struggled. Fans and media alike are suggesting that forward Tyler Seguin gets some ice time on the power play, but Julien is a bit hesitant to go with the rookie.
“I think it’s a situation here where you’ve got to understand this is a 19 year old that hasn’t played in 11 games. He comes back in and you want to give him some small chunks to bite on, and certainly work his way up. But I think the other part is if our power play had not started picking it up, which I thought our first power play was really not a good one, our second one got a little better and then we got some shots starting to go through on the other one. Had it not, then we would have thrown him in there. But our power play’s been good the last couple of games, and just because you struggle on the first couple of ones, you explode it again and try something new. And I think had it not gone well, we would’ve, and he would’ve certainly been considered.” added Julien.
The biggest disappointment on the power play has been the overall play of defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
When the Bruins acquired Kaberle from the Maple Leafs at the NHL’s trade deadline, he was looked upon to revive a struggling Bruins power play. Kaberle has failed to do so, and has failed miserably.
Despite his struggles, Julien still has confidence in Kaberle.
“Well there is no doubt he is pressing a little bit. I would say that because he knows what is expected of him and he knows what is being said about, him he knows all that stuff, at one point you hope that he is capable of focusing on just doing the job, and we have confidence in him and we are going to work with him for him to get better. Because we are going to need him to play at his best if we plan on moving on here and winning some hockey games. So that is something that we all have to worth with, himself and us and working through this together. “
The Lightning have the top penalty killing unit in the playoffs, so scoring on them with a good power play is a difficult task.
The Bruins need to start getting more pucks on net, and start to create traffic in front of Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson.
Putting some pucks on net with a little traffic doesn’t guarantee goals, but it’s a good start.