The Boston Bruins were 0-for-4 on the powerplay on Wednesday afternoon. They even surrendered a shorthanded goal to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of their First Round series. It didn’t matter in the end though as the Bruins won 4-3 in double overtime.
Bruce Cassidy realizes that even though during the regular season, the Bruins were second in the NHL with a 25.2% success rate on the powerplay, that was five months ago and his team is still shaking off the rust. So far, the Bruins are 0-for-13 with the man advantage and that rust doesn’t seem to be shedding.
“I think Carolina is aggressive, made sure – the way they form that tight diamond in the neutral zone didn’t allow us to gain entry with possession,” Cassidy began when addressing the powerplay on Thursday.
It’s not something the Bruins are strangers to. That stingy style of penalty killing is exactly what Bruce Cassidy has his team do when down a man.
“Which is something that we try to do as much as any team in this league,” Cassidy continued. “Maybe the stubbornness on our part not to get pucks behind them – we have a couple of plays, we talked about even before. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to practice the timing of some of them.
“We always run that stretch play against Carolina off the end boards. We’ve had success against them doing that, we actually scored on them up there doing it. We sometimes find that will loosen them up. It didn’t work for us. Then in-zone, probably forced some plays once we did get possession.”
CHANGING THINGS UP?
How can the Bruins snap out of this funk on the man advantage? Cassidy believes the solution involves getting back to basics.
“I think you have to have a little more of a five-on-five mentality when you’re going against that, in terms of protecting a puck, maybe spinning out of a hit and get close support instead of thinking, they’re going to let us set up. Some of it was just, we had to live it. We did. It cost us a shorty. We won the game so we’ll move past it, try to make the necessary adjustments.”
One potential reason for the slow start on the powerplay? The Bruins went through Phase 3 and early Phase 4 practices without some key players.
“I think it has hurt us the fact that you’re off for that long. Pasta [David Pastrnak] misses camp. [Ondrej] Kase misses camp on the second unit. You don’t have a lot of reps. When we got here, a couple guys needed maintenance days. Bergy, Pasta again. Now all of a sudden, you think maybe you can catch up here on the practice time and we weren’t able to do much of that either. So we’re behind on the power play. We’re going to have to simplify it and be ready for pressure tonight. Hopefully get it going again because it can be a major weapon for us.”