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It was inevitable.
The Boston Bruins dismal play with a man advantage has finally ended their defense of a championship they won in spite of their ability to capitalize on power play opportunities. For two years, the Bruins have been less than impressive when opposing teams have one fewer man on the ice. For two years, the Bruins have been utterly inept in every facet of their power play offense. And it’s finally caught up to them.
We will no longer hear about how the Bruins’ power play isn’t that important because their even strength play is strong. We will no longer hear about how the Bruins can win without a top tier offensive power play system. Instead, we will hear about how this team’s top six forwards and their “puck moving, offensive” defensemen have let them down against an inferior team.
Sure, their power play was ranked in the middle of the NHL this season, but don’t let their mediocrity fool you. As we have come to find, their moderate power play success has bee nothing more than a façade, a sham, a charade.
Why is the power play so bad? Two reasons:
There’s no easier play to defend – in any sport – than one that is standing still. The foundation of a power play is that one team has to cover the same amount of space with fewer players. In the Bruins’ case, there is space available, but it is never utilized.
Instead of creating passing lanes, the Bruins wait for them to appear. Instead of moving into space, and forcing the disabled defense to move with them, they work for seconds and seconds against the boards only to get the puck back to the point for a slap shot. A slap shot, I might add, that a goalie and his defenders can see coming before it even happens.
Typically, when a team is granted a man advantage, they see it as an opportunity to score. Typically, to score, players need to be on the ice that have the ability to possess the puck, pass the puck, and shoot the puck somewhere other than into the chest of the goalie.
If we can collectively think of one player that can do all three of those things, we would probably all arrive at Tyler Seguin. But it took until the seventh and final game of this series for Seguin to be on the first power play line. In Game 5, as a matter of fact, Seguin played less than half the minutes of Brian Rolston and Rich Peverly on the power play.
Once again: typically, when a team is granted a man advantage, they see it as an opportunity to score.