Bruce Cassidy did not beat around the bush about the Bruins’ power play issues during Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers.
“If you watched the game, clearly we struggled on the power play. I’m not going to hide from that. There were problems getting into the zone and there were problems in the zone,” Cassidy said postgame. “There were problems.”
Yes, Brad Marchand’s game-tying goal – a one-timer from David Pastrnak with 14:15 left to play — came on the man advantage. But the Bruins went 1-for-7, including being held without even one shot on goal for three power play attempts and their third being negated 56 seconds in.
How could Cassidy beat around this bush?
“Early on, I thought pressure in zone they weren’t able to handle. [The Rangers] were more aggressive on the kill than we were ready for, and and we just did not handle it well,” Cassidy added. “We spent a lot of time in our own end and breaking the puck out which becomes frustrating… We were out of sync.”
Instead of messing around with the top power play unit of Marchand, Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug, though, Cassidy opted to keep pushing and keep it simple.
“We knew they were a little fatigued so we had that going for us,” Cassidy said. “[We thought] sooner or later our skill would come through on the power play and it did.”
Spooner was on the ice for 7:59 of the team’s total power play minutes in his return to the lineup, second only to Krug’s 8:20. He summed up the situation’s general locker room vibe – at times (failing to record a shot on goal through multiple power play chances, for instance) the Bruins’ top unit absolutely looked out of sync, but it wasn’t all bad.
“I don’t think it was terrible,” he said after the game. “At times it was terrible, but at times it wasn’t bad…it could be better. I think [top unit] have played together for maybe four or five games all year so maybe just a little out of sync. We just got to be on the same page and that’s going to come.”
What will it take to transition from at-times-terrible-not-bad-could-be-better to the same page? With Spooner’s return, additional practice time to develop full-unit chemistry is a start. Pastrnak had an existential postgame reminder that couldn’t hurt, either.
“I guess we adjust the mentality,” said Pastrnak, who extended his point streak to 11 straight games in the losing effort. “You know, we are only people…when it [doesn’t] work you try to do too much…it was a bad day on the power play for us – it got us a point at least.”