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Boston Bruins Power Play Struggling Without Injured Pastrnak

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In a connection that the Boston Bruins seem to think is a coincidence at this point, their power play is struggling amidst the absence of game-breaking sniper David Pastrnak.

The Boston Bruins man advantage went 0-for-4 in Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, and was 0-for-4 during Tuesday night’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings as well. Even in Friday night’s impressive victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins power play went 0-for-3 as well while holding the high-powered Bolts PP off the board in five chances as well.

So now the Boston Bruins power play is 0-for-11 in the last three games without No. 88, and they’ve dropped to 10th in the NHL with a 22.5 percent success rate.

It’s about the entries and the lack of setup as much as anything else, but nothing has been particularly good over the last handful of games with a special teams unit that’s going to be vitally important come Stanley Cup playoff time.

“Lack of execution. I’ve seen it for a while now. With [David Pastrnak] in the lineup or without him, Bergie in or out. We don’t execute well enough right now. The quickness and the pace of execution, hitting the net when you do get the opportunity,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We missed an open net again [on Sunday], so those numbers get skewed. And I think there’s some stubbornness on the entries. Instead of going in as a group or putting it behind them and going to get it the old-fashioned way, we’ve had some issues there where we’ll try to coach it into the group.

“At some point the execution will turn because they’re good players and they’ve had good success on the power play. Hopefully with the stubbornness on the entries, they’ll change the approach.”

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To Cassidy’s point, the Boston Bruins were 0-for-5 on the power play against the Blue Jackets on Monday night as well in the game where No. 88 got injured in an awkward entanglement coming out of a faceoff. The Bruins have now gone a week without a power play goal dating back to their last home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 2, and went the entire four-game road trip without a power play score in 16 tries, mostly without the lethal threat of David Pastrnak from the left face-off circle.

For most of the last few seasons, the entire top B’s power play unit has run through Patrice Bergeron in the slot bumper spot, but it’s Pastrnak’s one-time threat from the face-off circle that opens up space and time for the other four scoring threats on the ice with him.

Without Pastrnak’s shooting threat, the Boston Bruins have been running through different formations and personnel whether it was Hampus Lindholm at the point with Charlie McAvoy, or Charlie Coyle playing the net-front. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a right shot on the Bruins roster that can replace Pastrnak in terms of accuracy and threat with quick shots from the dot.

“It is an adjustment. Obviously, you miss a guy like [Pastrnak]. He’s one of the best shooters in the world and teams have to respect that,” said Patrice Bergeron of No. 88, who is tied for 7th in the NHL with 14 PP goals this season. “It kind of opens up different things when he’s out there, but that being said there are things there on the power play where we can be a little crisper and a little sharper.”

With Monday an off day for the B’s, everybody will find out on Tuesday how close Pastrnak is to returning to the Boston Bruins lineup. But either way they are going to need to find some answers for a power play unit that’s massively struggled over the last week amidst a couple of tough losses to the Red Wings and Capitals that have pushed them back into the wild card spot.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Rick W Fleming

Forbort and Foligno have to come off the ice, permantely they stink. For god sake get Lindholm back asap or they may never win another game this season.

William Mahoney

Without a Jack Eichel ‘ what do you expect?

Clacker47

The powerplay is 0-16 in the last 4 games. Not a great sign heading into the playoffs. The Bruins have had issues scoring all season and now apparently they can’t defend in the final minutes of periods and games to go along with that. Since the beginning of February the Bruins have only 4 wins against playoff teams, and 2 of those wins were against the same team…Tampa. I’m really hoping they get it sorted before the playoffs, or it may be a short run.

Moose

If we are going to have a deep run, 88 has to be there and dominating. Yes, dominating including the power play. It is a big ask given he hasn’t been able to carry this team like a Crosby in the playoffs but that is what this team needs with everyone else along for the ride and contributing. We can’t ask the Rat or Berge to do it because they are not in their mid-20s like 88. If it does not happen and 88 is healthy for the playoffs, then it is on him and let’s talk trade chip for… Read more »

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