The Boston Bruins are headed back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2013. Boston completed the sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes after a 4-0 victory in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.
One of the many keys to the series for both Carolina and Boston was special teams. Carolina forward Justin Williams summed it up best as he told the media “It was a special teams battle each and every night with these guys.”
The Bruins power play continues to pay dividends in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In Game 4, the Bruins special teams were clutch again. The Bruins penalty kill kept Carolina’s power play (1-for-14) to one goal in the series. That goal came in Game 1 when Sebastian Aho tied the game at 1-1. From that point on the Bruins penalty kill was perfect. The Bruins scored on two of three power plays in the game.
Zone Entry Adjustments
One of the reasons the Bruins power play is so good is how quickly the Bruins enter the zone. Everything changed in Game 1 of the series against Carolina. The Bruins could not gain entry into the offensive zone, so Bruce Cassidy and the coaching staff made slight adjustments. One of those adjustments the Bruins made was to come through the neutral zone with speed from the defensive zone and move the puck quicker as they entered the offensive zone with every player on the ice touching the puck.
The result was instant success.
On the first power play, Tuukka Rask leaves the puck for Torey Krug as the Bruins cycle in their own zone before they go on the attack. Krug makes a pass to David Pastrnak, who picks up speed on the right wing before he makes to Brad Marchand coming down the left wing. Marchand carries the puck into the offensive zone as Pastrnak cuts to the net. Marchand then fires the puck towards Curtis McElhinney as Pastrnak gets a piece of it to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
On the second power play, the Bruins broke out of their defensive zone as four players touched the puck before they entered the offensive zone. Once in the offensive zone, the top line of the Bruins went to work. Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak have a nifty give and go play as Brad Marchand sets a subtle little pick on the Carolina defenseman. Bergeron picks up the puck in front of one of the Carolina defenders as Marchand skates by Bergeron. Right after Bergeron feeds the puck to Pastrnak, who then gives the puck back to Bergeron in the slot as he buried it past McElhinney to give the Bruins a 2-0.
The Bruins power play went 7-for-15 in the series, a conversion rate of 47 percent. Overall the Bruins power play leads in the NHL in the playoffs at a 34 percent conversion rate. The Bruins record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is 6-0 when scoring two or more power play goals in a game.