BOSTON -- The power play for the Boston Bruins has been suspect all season. Coach Claude Julien has tweaked it so many times it’s starting to look like an aging beauty queen trying to stay attractive with the help of medical science.
It’s just not working.
Boston is 0-for-15 with the man advantage in its Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Montreal Canadiens. Fortunately for the Bruins, their penalty kill has been solid. Offensively, at least the last three games, Boston has done just enough to claim a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
But if the Bruins want to advance deep into the playoffs, the PP has to get on track. Prior to Game 3 of this series, Bruins coach Claude Julien made some personnel changes on both power-play units, putting Patrice Bergeron with David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the team’s top PP.
“We tried to overload one of our power plays and keep it out there a little longer,” Julien said. “And again, it’s been an ongoing battle all year. I’m not going to stand here and lie and pretend it’s not an issue. It is an issue and I think the players know it’s an issue.
“And at one point it becomes probably a situation where it becomes either a lack of confidence or there is probably a lot of stress when they go out on the power play. And they know what it represents and where the challenges have been. Somehow we have to find a way to overcome that, and you hope it’s going to happen soon. But that’s been an ongoing challenge from our team all year and it’s something that we have to continue to try to resolve.”
The addition of veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle was supposed to help cure the power-play woes. Since his arrival on Feb. 18, the Bruins finished the regular season 7-for-66 on the power play.
“We’re trying to find a way to get it going,” Kaberle said. “We’ve been working on it both on and off the ice. Sometimes it’s not easy to put it in, but we’ve been having more chances lately. We just have to keep working on it. The good thing is we don’t need it right now, but in close games it could make the difference for us. Hopefully we can find a way to put it in.”
Fortunately for the Bruins, they have stayed relatively disciplined and out of the penalty box.
“Special teams are huge,” Kaberle said. “We’re glad we’ve got a really good PK going right now. We can’t get too frustrated. Breaking sticks [in frustration] isn’t going to help you. We need to maintain our focus on it and we’ll see what happens.”
Fellow defenseman and power play worker Dennis Seidenberg said he’s seeing signs of improvement.
“It’s been a while [since we’ve scored], but I think [Saturday] we did some good things compared to the other games,” Seidenberg said. “We actually created some shots from the top and it seemed like we had some zone time, which is a positive. Right now we have to take whatever we can and I think it’s starting to come together.”
It needs to if the Bruins want to advance in the playoffs.