BostonBruins.com - The Bruins scored two goals on five power-plays in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final, against what has been the league-leading penalty kill by the Chicago Blackhawks for much of the postseason and still sits at 90.3-percent.
The Black & Gold couldn't capitalize by earning the win in overtime and let in an uncharacteristic shorthanded goal against, but, the production from the B's man-advantage is something of note as the series becomes a best-of-three beginning tonight in Chicago with Game Five.
Boston's power play is now at 18.6 percent, having converted on 20 of 59 opportunities through 20 games this postseason. On the road, that increases to 20.8 percent (9-for-24).
A breakdown of the series so far shows the Bruins 1-for-3 on the power play in Game 1, 0-for-2 in Game 2, 1-for-4 in Game 3 and 2-for-5 in Game 4.
"Again, I think we've added some new personnel in there, and we're moving the puck well," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "Right now we're playing with a lot of confidence on the power play. It's like anything else, confidence is a big part of the game, and when you start feeling it, you try and hold onto it as long as you can."
"Right now I think our guys are feeling it and feel confident about how we're handling the puck and moving it around."
"I think we're making some good decisions on the power play and it certainly has gotten better. For all the struggles we had with it, what better time than now to be pretty decent on it."
It's accepted that a team is not going to score on every chance, so it's important that it doesn't create any momentum for the opposition.
And while the B's man-advantage has oft received criticism, it's creating momentum when it counts - in the Stanley Cup Final.
"It's important even if your power play isn't scoring goals, as long as you generate some offensive chances and some momentum," said Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, now a staple on the man-advantage.
"If you don't score a goal that next shift, it's important to just carry over the momentum and try to get scoring chances."
Milan Lucic, another mainstay on the power play, utilizing his big body and strength to create time and space for this unit, feels the upped confidence.
"It’s been great that we don’t have to talk about our power play hurting us and it's finally helping us and getting us some big goals," said Lucic.
"I think we’re just moving the puck well and guys are supporting each other well and supporting the puck well."
"We’ve been able to find pucks around the net to get goals and hopefully we can keep that up because special teams are huge when it comes down to big games like this."
When it comes to the power play, the coaching staff conjures up the game plan, and it's up to the players.
"In this day and age, there's a lot of video, you can pre-scout teams and you know what you're going to get out of the other team," said Krug.
"For us, it's important to go into the game with a game plan. Obviously when you get on the power play, it's all about execution and not being hesitant."
"The coaches play a huge role in it. They prepare the video for us and they have the eyes from up above and they can send messages down to the bench. You understand that."
"From there it's just about letting your players take over and using our talents to the best of our abilities. It's all about execution when it comes down to it."
And for the players on the B's power play, it's about using their strengths to try and create opportunities.
Whether it's Krug utilizing his skating, one-timer and ability to get his shot through, Krejci using his vision and playmaking, Jagr controlling the puck, Lucic creating space with his body, or Bergeron starting the play with a faceoff win and finishing it with his will to get the puck into the back of the net.
"You play to each individual strengths and exploit their weaknesses and that's what we've been able to do so far," said Krug.
"It's important because what our power play does is takes chances when we get them. Not passing up opportunities, not being hesitant."
"That's my style of play when I get the puck, I look to shoot and create opportunities," Krug said, of using his own strengths. "I've been lucky enough to contribute to that."
While Krug has added a new element to the B's power play, no one player has added more than Jagr.
"It’s great. Obviously his vision is something pretty impressive, not just on the power play, but I think on the half wall, he’s very good at finding guys, but also bringing guys to him and then dishing the puck," said Bergeron, who has scored two power-play goals this series, thanks to feeds from Jagr.
"We just try to get open and find ways to put the puck in when he does give you a perfect pass like he did on that five-on-three."
"He's got good vision. He can make those passes like you saw the other night," added Coach Julien, of Jagr. "
At the same time I've seen where teams really try and jump him, try to get the puck out of his hands because they know how dangerous he can be. When they do that, sometimes they'll pull a guy out of position which allows another guy to get a good scoring opportunity."
"He's brought that respect I guess to our power play as well. Another
dangerous player. So it's opened up some other options. I think he's done a great job of that."
The B's power play may have gotten heat through the years, but there's no better time for it to have gained confidence.
"Yeah, it's always been something that you hear about. Obviously when they won the Cup a couple years ago, it was pretty much non-existent," said Krug. "To win the Cup then without a power play is incredible because if you look a the game today, you understand how important the power play is and the penalty kill is."
"It's a very important part of the game, and it's something that I'm glad that we have."
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