The Boston Bruins were able to survive a historically bad power play in the 2011 NHL playoffs en route to a Stanley Cup championship, but unfortunately, those power-play woes have carried into the new season, and Boston won't survive this ineffectiveness with the man advantage for another year.
The Bruins are 1-for-18 on the power play this season. One goal in 18 opportunities! That is atrocious.
What's worse is they haven't even been able to create that many scoring chances.
Teams hang around in games for too long against the Bruins because they know Boston cannot score on the power play, so opponents can be physical and take penalties and not feel worried the Bruins will make them pay.
The problem for the Bruins is not who is on the power-play lines, it's how the unit is run. Boston doesn't put enough men in front of the net, and they don't shoot enough.
The Bruins have plenty of big, physical players to put in front of the opposing team's goaltender and create screens.
Forwards Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, along with defenseman Zdeno Chara, are all imposing figures to park in front of the goal.
Boston also needs to shoot the puck more. In last year's Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, when they were successful on the power play, it was when the Bruins threw pucks on net and buried garbage goals that the power play actually produced.
Lots of power-play goals are scored right in and around the crease, and offense is often created when you win the physical battles in front of the net. The Bruins shouldn't be losing any strength battles in front of the net with all their size.
The Bruins added defenseman Joe Corvo in the summer from the Carolina Hurricanes in a trade to bolster the amount shot taking on the power play. Defenseman Tomas Kaberle didn't shoot enough last season, and the Bruins let him go in free agency.
Corvo will be a welcomed addition to the power play, and so will Tyler Seguin. Seguin is the most gifted offensive player on the team, and he's playing with a more physical edge this season.
Seguin has two goals and two assists this season and is tied with Brad Marchand for the team lead in points with four. He will be on the power play all season because great things happen when he's on the ice.
The Bruins power play is really a mystery. There is no easy or noticeable remedy. You can change the lines all you want, but the execution has to be much better.
As long as the Bruins be aggressive and put pucks on net, they will start to see some improvement. Looking for the perfect scoring chance with multiple cute passes isn't the way to approach the power play.
The Bruins survived last season with a horribly ineffective power play, and if these struggles continue all season, Boston will be in a real fight just to make the playoffs, let alone repeat as champions.
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