B's power play shows up at right time

B's power play shows up at right time
May 17, 2013, 11:00 am
Share This Post

BOSTON – To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Bruins struggled with their power play in the first round of the playoffs. After another disappointing year on the man advantage for the Black and Gold during the regular season, they finished just 3-for-20 against the Maple Leafs in the first round and scored PP goals in only two of the seven games against Toronto.

But the Bruins saw a very welcomed return of effective power plays in the second round opener against the New York Rangers, as they went 1-for-4 on the PP and fired a total of 11 shots on net on the man advantage in the 3-2 overtime win against the Blueshirts in Game 1 at TD Garden.

“That’s what you need your power play to do. Obviously, we didn’t have the best power play all year, but we’re starting to come around,” said Brad Marchand. “If we’re not scoring, then we’re getting some opportunities.

“You want to get some momentum off of those. In overtime especially, we had some really good opportunities but we didn’t finish. We just seemed to feed off of that and played very well after that.”

The power play goal was especially important giving the timing of it: the Bruins were down 2-1 and the Rangers had all of the momentum in the third period after Derek Stepan scored just 14 seconds into the third period. Steve Eminger went off for holding minutes later, and Baby Bear defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug combined for a power play goal from the left point to tie things up.

It was Krug’s first NHL goal in his very first Stanley Cup playoff game after being called up from Providence when injuries to Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden dictated that a bunch of rookies would be in the lineup against the Rangers. It was also a B’s power play strike against a Rangers PK that was middle of the road in the NHL this season while killing only slightly more than 80 percent of the penalties called against them.

That could become a big factor in a series between the Rangers and Bruins where 5-on-5 mistakes won’t be plentiful.

It was also the answer Boston needed in the third period to eventually push things to overtime, where Boston dominated en route to the victory.

The Bruins continued the good feelings from the power play in overtime when Derek Dorsett was whistled for interference, and the Bruins pinned the Rangers down while firing eight shots on net during the man advantage. They didn’t score on the PP, but that dominant possession allowed the Bruins to outshoot the Rangers 16-5 in overtime before eventually breaking through with the Brad Marchand OT game-winner.

“I really thought our power play did a good job," said Claude Julien. "We had some good chances; he made some really good saves. If anything, the power play doesn’t always score, but as long as it gives you some momentum, I don’t think it was a discouraging thing, it was just about continuing, and our guys after the power play said, ‘let’s keep taking it to these guys.' We spent the whole two minutes in their end, and had some great chances, but [Henrik] Lundqvist made some big saves at the right time.

“They made some good shot blocks, as they normally do killing penalties, but I thought our guys just continued to move the puck around, and we had some great chances. I didn’t think it was a negative thing; if anything, it was just about, ‘let’s stay with it here, and find a way to get that goal.'”

The Bruins did just that in overtime, and might have found that elusive power play formula along the way as well.