The Maple Leafs had scored power play goals in eight straight games and were firing off at a 44 percent success rate headed into Saturday nights game against the Bruins.
So it goes without saying that Torontos special teams were featuring sky-high confidence heading into the weekend shot, but that offensive sureness didnt do them any good against a Boston club that beats them in every possible direction.
That span of offensive production and power play prowess came to a screeching halt against the Bruins, and the Bs held the Leafs power play to an 0-for-4 performance while taking down the 4-1 victory over Toronto at TD Garden.
The Bruins hatched a plan to disrupt Torontos ability to carry the puck into the offensive zone with speed and ferocity, and thats exactly what they did while shutting down the Leafs man advantage. Speedy penalty kill forwards like Daniel Paille and Rich Peverley were busting up Torontos power play formation into the offensive zone, and that maximum effort paid big dividends.
When the Leafs did enter into the offensive zone there were big hits like Johnny Boychuks body shot on Tyler Bozak, or Tuukka Rask smothering the few Toronto chances in between.
The specialty teams are always big. It depends on the game, but it seemed like we didnt have any power plays. They got power plays and they have a really good power play, so we wanted to make sure that we took away their speed on the breakout. We wanted to try to force them to make some plays that they dont want to make.
We did a really good job I thought on a lot of their entries and stop them right there. When we had the chance we put pressure on them.
Andrew Ference, Chris Kelly and Johnny Boychuk all logged more than three minutes of penalty kill work in Saturdays win, and Daniel Paille, Dennis Seidenberg and Rich Peverley all managed more than two minutes of PK work.
The biggest piece of the strategy against Toronto was staying disciplined and out of the box, but the collaborative work of the Bs penalty kill unit allowed only three shots on net when they did get their four power play chances.
We talked about being very disciplined tonight. Those calls that were madeIm not saying they were bad calls -- but they were really border-line and they chose to call. So I cant criticize our team for lacking discipline, said Claude Julien. But our PK came out there and did a great job, and Tuukka (Rask) made the saves when he had to. We put a lot of pressure up the ice and didnt make it easy for them to enter our zone.
The Bruins entered Saturday night seventh in the NHL with an 85.1 percent kill rate that just keeps climbing higher and higher after a few struggles to start the season and showed exactly how it can help the Bs win games along with an ever-improving power play unit.