Solutions to Boston Bruins' Biggest Problems Early in 2013-14
The goaltending has been great, and save for a collapse against the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins have played great all season long.
But there are always ways to improve.
Like usual for Boston, its offense and power play are near the bottom third of the league. What can be done to fix it?
Here are the solutions to the Bruins' biggest problems so far this season.
Problem: Power Play
Solution: Shoot More, Keep Planting Chara in Front
Boston is 21st in the league with a power-play percentage of 15.2 percent.
To generate more goals, the B's need to have better puck movement and shoot at the net. The more shots that go on net, the better the chances of scoring will be. It's easier said than done, obviously, because teams will try to set up for a high percentage shot, thus lowering the number of shots due to better passing.
Zdeno Chara has camped in front of the net several times on the power play this season, and he should continue to do so. His large frame is a menace for the goalie to deal with, and more goals are likely to be scored with the poor vision of the goaltender.
Problem: Too Many Penalties
Solution: More Disciplined Play
Boston ranks 17th in penalty minutes, spending an average of 13.8 minutes per game in the box.
There's only one solution to this: more discipline.
The Bruins have eight fighting majors, which aren't of concern because the opponent will head off the ice, too.
Boston is known to be a tough squad, and the high number of penalty minutes isn't too much of a problem. However, when your offense is struggling, you don't want to be down a man.
Problem: Few Power-Play Chances
Solution: More Aggressive Play
When they're on the power play, the Bruins can struggle. But just getting there is a problem as well.
The Bruins rank 29th in the league in power-play chances generated—with only 33 on the season. (The league leader, the San Jose Sharks, has been on 55 power plays.)
Playing more aggressively in the neutral and offensive zones will lead to more hooks, slashes and holds by the opponent—and more chances on the power play. Fast skating and long passes up the ice will force the opponent out of position and into taking a penalty.
If Boston wants to improve its goal output, getting more man-advantages will be a good start.