Blackhawks, Bruins share power-play woes

CHICAGO -- The question posed in the United Center press box on Saturday night was which team -- the Chicago Blackhawks or Boston Bruins -- had the more inept power play.

It’s not an easy one to answer.

In the regular season, the Bruins were the worst among the two teams on the power play. They ranked 26th in the league with a 14.8 percentage, scoring 18 goals in 122 chances. The Blackhawks ranked 19th with a 16.7 percentage, scoring 25 goals in 150 opportunities.

In the playoffs, the Bruins have been slightly better than the Blackhawks, but neither has done much to improve their efficiency. The Bruins have scored seven power-play goals in 45 chances for a 15.6 percent, and the Blackhawks are 7-of-51 for a 13.7 percent.

The Bruins swept the Pittsburgh Penguins and scored 12 goals in the Eastern Conference finals without any help from their power play. The Bruins were 0-for-13, which included going 0-for-5 in Game 3, against the Penguins.

The Blackhawks also advanced to the Stanley Cup finals without much power-play assistance. Only one of the Blackhawks’ 14 goals against the Los Angeles Kings in five games of the Western Conference finals came from their power play. The Blackhawks were 1-of-14 on the power play in the series.

Unless something drastically changes, the 2013 Stanley Cup winner will finish with a subpar power play. But that isn’t anything new.

The Kings won last year’s Stanley Cup with a 12.8 percentage (12-of-94). The Bruins won it in 2011 with an 11.4 percentage (10-of-88.)

On the other hand, there have been recent champions that have had power-play success. The Blackhawks had a 22 percentage (11-of-50) when they won in 2010. The Carolina Hurricanes had a 24 percentage (31-of-129) during their Cup run in 2006.

There isn’t much separation between the Blackhawks and Bruins in their penalty kills either. Both have been among the league’s best in that area in the playoffs.

The Blackhawks have allowed three goals on 58 power-play chances for a 94.8 percentage in the playoffs, and the Bruins have an 86.5 percentage, allowing seven goals on 52 opportunities. The Bruins went 15-for-15, including 6-for-6 in Game 3, on the penalty kill against the Penguins.

With so many similarities between the Blackhawks’ and Bruins’ power plays and penalty kills, the Stanley Cup finals may just come down to which team can find a way to capitalize on special teams.