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BOSTON (CBS) – Let’s be blunt, Wednesday night, the power play was awful. The Boston Bruins simply lack the skill it takes to control the puck in the offensive zone during the man advantage.
We all know the counter arguments; three more centimeters and it’s in the net. One more step and the game is tied. Fact is, every shot was three centimeters off and every player was one step behind.
In the NHL, every inch counts. A single millimeter separates the great ones from those who are good, those who are immortalized and those who vanish into the dustbins of history. Wednesday night, Bruins fans were hoping to sweep this one away. After being handed five free shiny power play gifts by the Hurricanes, Boston wasn’t able to convert on ANY of them. Sure the opportunities were there, yes, but the overall skill to maintain the puck in the offensive zone simply wasn’t.
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It’s this skill that will allow the Bruins to finally score one simple goal; a goal that means the difference between losing and winning a game, finishing fourth and finishing fifth and boosting morale or letting it further disrupt the team.
Let’s take a look at three power play examples from last night that demonstrate this exact point.
Power play #3 (16:42 of the 2nd): 2 minutes to score. 2 minutes, and within that time, the puck went out of the offensive zone a total of four times. Four. Let’s do the math on that. Every time the puck exits the zone we can generously estimate a loss of 10 seconds; the amount of time that it takes a team to set back up. In this instance, the Bruins lost 40 seconds on their man advantage. That’s a significant amount of time to make a play and change the game. It’s this skill that eluded them last night and kept them from a victory. Sure, there were opportunities and they were good. But the fact is, they weren’t good enough.
Stats: Bruins-Hurricanes Box Score
Power play #4 (11:37 of the second): 120 seconds to score. 120 seconds and during that time the puck left the offensive zone a total of six times. If we do our math again, that’s one minute taken off of the power play. With only one inconsistent minute to make a play, the chances of setting up and scoring a goal are minimized. By this point, the Bruins had a total of four power play opportunities and only put six shots on net.
Power play #5 (8:55 in the 2nd): five offensive zone clears, 50 seconds gone.
The power plays’ inability to maintain offensive control of the puck is proving to be a detriment to this Boston Bruins team. A significant amount of time is constantly wasted skating in and out of the zone. This handicap proves it difficult for the team to do anything significant, for instance, scoring a goal. Mistakes are made and although they are slight, they make all the difference in the game.
The lines can be toggled and the players can be moved but if the Boston Bruins allow the puck to travel around the ice as often as it does, then every attempt to fix this thing is meaningless. It’s an issue of skill, an ability to control the offensive zone during the man advantage and unfortunately, this Bruins team may be missing just that.
Follow Mark Feldman on Twitter @mfsports21