Improving power play a priority ... again

BOSTON -- There are plenty of reasons why the Bruins are not advancing to the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals with a chance to continue their defense of the Stanley Cup, but one that is standing out like a black eye right now is their lack of an effective and timely power play.

After winning the 2011 Stanley Cup despite the same issues with the man-advantage, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli tried to remedy the situation by trading for defenseman Joe Corvo, a noted power play specialist, but Corvo turned out to be a bust and the Bruins once again could never solve what is clearly their Achilles heel. It all caught up to them in their seven-game series loss to the Capitals. The Bruins were 3-for-21 on the power play versus Washington and after failed to score on a power play in the final two minutes of regulation in Game 7 before losing 2-1 in overtime.

“I know it stood out,” GM Peter Chiarelli said Friday. "I know there were certain power plays that we didn’t score on and the timeliness was critical. There are areas we have to improve and that’s an area. I had the discussion with Claude (Julien) and this certainly isn’t something we’ve ignored in the past. ...

“It’s something that you look now, there are teams with a lot of skill that are in the lower quartile of the power play percentages. But to me, on the power play it’s about timeliness and I think to get to timely goals on the power play, you have to be proficient at it in general. From the skill perspective, I think we have a pretty good skill set and it’s something we have to work on -- it’s as simple as that. It didn’t come through and it’s something we have to work on and I have confidence in our group that we’ll work on it and we’ll dig in.”

Julien pointed to the fact that the Bruins don’t have any prolific scorers as an obvious reason the power play finished 15th in the NHL in the regular season, but realizes that -- superstar or not -- it can be better.

“When you look at your power play, and that’s not to defend it, you don’t have anybody in the Top 30 in the scoring and basically you have to do it by committee,” Julien said. “That’s what we had to do this year. We finished in the middle of the pack this year in the regular season and more than anything else, the thing that sticks out the most is the inability to score the times that we did score and the times we needed to score.

“Probably the thing that sticks out is that Game 7. With two and a half minutes left, this is when you need your power play to score or this series is over and you’re moving on and that’s what really sticks in everyone’s mind and that’s what sticks in our mind too.”