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New round, same results: Bruins power play still in need of fixing

Jun 3, 2011, 11:46 AM EDT

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game One Getty Images

Every round of the playoffs has gone by and the Boston Bruins power play stays the same. Despite the amount of talent they’re rolling out there with, they still can’t find ways to make things work on the man advantage.

In the first round against Montreal, they were able to beat the Canadiens despite not scoring a goal on the power play. They scored twice in four games against Philadelphia in the second round and added just three power play goals in seven games against Tampa Bay. Five goals through three rounds and one game of the Stanley Cup finals turns into a 7.5% success rate.

Given that the Bruins are in the Stanley Cup finals that’s a miracle unto itself but they know they need to find a way to make it work because failing on the power play against Vancouver will cost them the Stanley Cup. While the Bruins have made some shakeups in the power play including putting Zdeno Chara in front of the net and working with a three defensemen unit with Chara in front and Tomas Kaberle and  Dennis Seidenberg along the blue line, the Bruins still went 0-6 in Game 1. That 0-6 effort included failing to score on a 4:00 double-minor in the first period and also failing to score on a 1:35 long 5-on-3 in the second period.

CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty suggests that perhaps Mark Recchi should get replaced on the Bruins second power play unit to speed things up a bit as Recchi appeared to be a step slower in Game 1 and is without a power play goal in the playoffs despite being third on the team in power play minutes with 49:28 played. Recchi and his teammates like Patrice Bergeron say the Bruins issues will come together somehow.

“I think the groups were good. I think the groups were fine yesterday and we had a lot of opportunities,” said Recchi. “I don’t know what you’re going with this right now, but whatever. That’s up to the coaches to decide. I like the way it worked and we’ll see what happens on Saturday. That’s up to the coaches.”

Recchi’s teammates didn’t buy into the theory that he should be off the ice on the power play, of course, and linemate Patrice Bergeron felt like Recchi’s experience and calming influence on the ice is a vital piece to everything Boston is doing.

“He’s fine. He has been around the block more than once,” said Bergeron. “His experience helps everyone on the ice so much.  We’re just happy to have a guy like him on our team.”

Being a calming influence and an experienced guy is good for a lot of things but it’s not so good in getting the puck in the back of the net when you’ve got the extra man. Recchi, while experienced, could be finding out the hard way the perhaps the Canucks are a bit too fast for even his veteran savvy.

Recchi’s been good when he’s crashed the net or hovered around it waiting for rebounds. Having him spot up around the ice and wait for the puck doesn’t work so well. Perhaps parking Recchi in front of the net would work out a bit better and allow him the room to either tip pucks or stuff home rebounds. Roberto Luongo‘s had his moments where he hasn’t controlled the puck and having Recchi there could pay off well with the second unit.

As for what changes will occur, your guess is as good as ours. After this long you’d think the Bruins and coach Claude Julien would have something figured out already. It’s going to continue to be a sticking point and given that penalties are going to happen regardless in the playoffs the Bruins have to find a way to make it work or else it’ll be another Cup-free year in Boston.

  1. andyinsdca - Jun 3, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    You’re missing one key element from the Bruins sad PP performance on Wed – Luongo. Luongo played out of his mind. Sure, he coughed up a few bad rebounds, but he stopped everything that the Bruins threw at him. They took tons of shots (12 of their 36 were on the PP), plus the ones that don’t show up in the boxscore as an “official shot.” The only real fix is (as has been stated before) is to get into his head, either by getting someone in front of him who can really hassle him or him goofing up and letting one dribble by.

    • govtminion - Jun 3, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      I agree on Luongo playing insanely good hockey, but… well, Boucher didn’t. Yet they never did get a power play goal in him (their only PP goals in that series were against Bobrovsky, I think). Bottom line, their power play sucks on toast, and if that doesn’t change they’re making things a lot tougher than they would be otherwise.

      The easy thing to do- and the thing I’ve been doing for two months now- is to point at the big power play fixer they picked up at the deadline and wonder why Kaberle is such a waste of oxygen. But it’s all around- for whatever reason, they just can’t get it going on the power play. Hopefully they find a way- I don’t know that they can beat the Canucks otherwise.

  2. jpelle82 - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    chara needs to be back on the point for the pp. put lucic in front. chara had two good chances in 4 minute pp in the first period last game but couldnt finish and the rebounds skittered away from him. he doesnt have the hands to clean up the bouncing pucks or rebounds in front. yes he is a big screen but he got cleared out and up ended a few times, his center of gravity is too high to be stationary in front like that. the nucks were getting under him and kept his stick and skates off the ice too easily. plus they need that big bomb from the point, kaberle aint gonna cut it and seidenberg seems more willing to pass than shoot up there.

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