BOSTON It seems like the same old, sad story all over again.
The Bruins had their chances on the power play in their playoff run, but it was filed under the team liability category rather than considered anything close to something the hockey club could gather strength from. The Bruins finished 0-for-3 on the power play in the 2-1 overtime loss in Game 7 to the Capitals at TD Garden, and finished the best-of-seven series in a 2-for-23 funk that once again exposed a pathetic man advantage.Thats altogether too familiar after the Bruins went a hapless 0-for-21 in the man advantage against the Montreal Canadiens last season. They were able to move forward with some Game 7 heroics against the Habs in that series, but the reigning Stanley Cup champs werent quite so lucky this time around.
Boston managed only four shots during the three power play chances against the Capitals in Game 7, and the many wasted man advantage opportunities loom a little larger in a series where each of the seven games was decided by a single goal in the margin of victory.Its obvious that we had to be better on the power play and we didnt do that -- at least create some momentum out of it, said Patrice Bergeron, in a lament thats become standard for the Bruins during the playoffs over the last two years. I dont think we did that tonight. But, more than that I think its about especially Game 7, you have to find ways.Part of Bostons issue is the lack of legitimate goal-scoring snipers on the power play, but the Bruins need to keep their special teams from becoming a liability. A struggling team can sometimes derive energy from a dangerous power play, and thats seemingly not an option for a group of players that seem to be waiting around for a big Zdeno Chara shot from the point way too often.
The best part: the Bruins at least started making the kind of adjustments youd hope to see enacted as the series moved along with Tyler Seguin registering the second-most power play ice time in Game 7 after two strong games. Only Rich Peverley had more power play ice among the Bs forwards, but it didnt help matters any as assistant coachBs power play architect Geoff Ward and the Bruins couldnt get the man advantage angle churning during the postseason series. It appears one of the big area needs improvement check mark boxes now that the Bs season is over.
CHICAGO – Don Sweeney said the Bruins knew and expected they were going to lose one of three players in the NHL expansion draft, and it’s pretty clear it was going to be Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Colin Miller leaving the team. The B’s took Kevan Miller out of the equation by leaving him on the protection list after a strong season while also playing some of his best hockey in the playoffs.
That left McQuaid and Miller with each of the two D-men standing an equal chance of getting selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the 24-year-old puck-moving Miller going to Vegas for the time being. It remains to be seen if Miller sticks with the Golden Knights, or if there is an eventual plan to flip him elsewhere like perhaps an interested party in Toronto.
Sweeney said the Bruins didn’t want to lose a player with potential like Miller, but it’s also true that he would have been stuck behind younger, better D-men on the depth chart with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as better right-handed options.
“It was an interesting process to go through. It was hard at times because you felt like other teams were able to find deals to keep their team together while you felt vulnerable in that regard,” said Sweeney at the B’s team hotel in Chicago during a Thursday availability with the media. “You knew you were going to lose a good player. You knew they had targeted three players on our team that we felt they would target, and unfortunately we’re losing a good, young player.
“We thought highly of Colin. He was part of a big trade for us and we wish him well moving forward. We thank for him doing his part with the organization. We lost a good player.”
Clearly, the Bruins lost a defenseman with skills and youth on his side, but it’s also a young guy that hasn’t put it all together yet while never posting more than 16 points in each of his two seasons with the Black and Gold. Perhaps he will put together the offensive package at his next landing spot after showing flashes in Boston over the last two years, but that unknown factor while no longer being considered a prospect is the reason he didn’t find himself on the protected D list along with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators.
Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.
Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3.
To see the full schedule, click here.