BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins have spent a lot of time complaining about penalties during their series with the Islanders. With their backs against the wall heading into Wednesday night’s Game 6 on Long Island, the Bruins should use some of that furor toward actually killing off those penalties.
The Boston PK unit has been a roller coaster over the first five games against New York. The Islanders scored on two of their three opportunities with a man advantage in Game 2, en route to a 4-3 overtime win in Boston. When the series shifted to New York for Games 3 and 4, the Bruins locked down and killed off all five penalties between the two games. Things were looking up for the Bruins, at least on the penalty kill front. The series was tied 2-2 heading back to Boston, but at least the B’s reliable special teams unit was doing their job.READ MORE: Eleven Voters Left Patrice Bergeron Off Their Selke Ballots, A Crime Against Hockey Humanity
But Game 5 in Boston was a catastrophe for the PK squad, which allowed New York to score on its first three power play opportunities. The Islanders needed just four shots to score those three goals, sending Boston into a 4-2 hole in the second period. New York finished 3-for-4 on the power play for the evening, and is now 6-for-15 on the man advantage this series.
The Islanders scored on just under 19 percent of their power plays during the regular season, which had them sitting 20th in the NHL, but they’ve upped their conversion rate to 29 percent in the postseason. Most of New York’s PP goals against the Bruins have come when it has been sheer chaos in front of the net, while others have come from the Islanders pouncing on Boston’s inability to clear the puck. Both are areas that the Bruins need to clean up Wednesday night if they want any shot at extending the series to a Game 7.READ MORE: David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask Recognized By NHL Players As Some Of The Best In The Game
In the postseason, the Bruins have been able to kill off 75 percent of the power plays they’ve gone against. That’s down from the 86 percent they killed off during the regular season, which was good for second-best in the NHL.
Unfortunately for Boston, their blue line will remain shorthanded in the win-or-go-home Game 6, with Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller both remaining in Boston. Add in the uncertainty with goaltender Tuukka Rask, and Boston is facing a whole slew of problems heading into Wednesday night’s game.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was fined $25,000 for comments about the officiating in Game 5, and he made it a point to say that the Islanders have done a great job “selling” penalties this series. It’s what a head coach has to do when he feels his team is being shafted with whistles, and the Bruins certainly have an argument on that front.MORE NEWS: Cam Neely Looks Back On Bruins' 2015 Draft: 'Hindsight Is Everything'
Maybe Cassidy’s comments will result in a few less appearances by the Boston PK unit. But the Bruins need to keep the Islanders from cashing in on their sell jobs in Game 6 if Boston wants to force a deciding Game 7 on Friday night.