B’s Beat: Is It Too Early To Get Excited About The Bruins’ Power Play?
For the last five seasons the Boston Bruins are one of the best teams in the NHL top to bottom, but they have been lacking in one specific area… the power play. The B’s power play has been so terrible over aforementioned period of time, that it is simply astonishing they won the Stanley Cup without one in 2011. Granted of course no team has ever won the cup without a power play like the Bruins did. The power play did show signs of life in last season’s cup finals for the B’s, though it wasn’t enough to help them win. The point here is the addition of Torey Krug into the Bruins lineup when referencing the late season success of the otherwise maligned Bruins man advantage unit.
I firmly believe Krug helped turn the unit around midway through the playoffs. The success of the power play unit doesn’t fall entirely on his shoulders, rather it is based on the unique play style he brings to the ice for the team.
With the addition of Krug’s puck moving ability, and more confident Dougie Hamilton in his second year, the Bruins have gained two weapons on the back-end that they haven’t really been able to use with success prior to these two player’s arrival. By having these two, the Bruins are able to use the monstrous body of Zdeno Chara down and around the front of the net. So far it has worked well because there are few players in the NHL that can move big Z from that spot on the ice, never mind winning a puck battle against him behind the net.
The off-season additions of Loui Eriksson and Jarome Iginla have yet to pay any power play dividends yet, but believe me they will. Iginla has been a goal scoring force on the PP for his entire career, as 165 of his 530 career goals are on the man advantage. I am really looking forward to seeing Iginla with Milan Lucic and Chara down low, and David Krejci and Krug out high creating havoc on any penalty killer who has the unfortunate task of stopping them. It has the potential to be a really solid unit for the Bruins.
Eriksson is part of unit B, along with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Dougie Hamilton, and presumably Johnny Boychuk/Dennis Seidenberg. This unit has the offensive power up front with guys who can absolutely shoot in Eriksson and Marchand, and the always elite all-around guy in Bergeron. My concern with this unit is on the back-end with Hamilton and Boychuk/Seidenberg. Hamilton has excellent offensive instincts and will grow into a great defender in this league, but is his confidence there? It’s a fair question given the way he absolutely fell off following a solid start to his rookie season. Hopefully his benching last season, coupled with the playoff experience, and full off-season of training will help Dougie take the next step in his development.
We are only two games into the season, which may mean it is to early to get really excited, but having witnessed an awful power play for so long, it is difficult not to be positive about the unit. It’s easy to be the pessimist and look at this as an anomaly in what will likely be another lousy year with the PP, but they have scored in consecutive games if you count Chris Kelly’s beauty penalty shot goal.
The power play was a big focus during training camp for this team, and it appears to be improved. The additions of Torey Krug, Jarome Iginla, and Loui Eriksson will help the B’s PP evolve into a more effective weapon in getting back to the Stanley Cup Finals. So yes, do get excited, because this may be the year the Bruins’ power play comes around.
You can follow me on Twitter here: @Mattjacob64