Bruins power play needs more puck pizzazz
|05.04.09 at 2:51 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A lot of Bruins chatter on Monday morning concerning power play outages and sharpness issues in the wake of a somewhat listless loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden on Sunday night. The team didn’t conduct any type of skating practice, but instead held a full team workout on Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
The power play is now 0-for-14 dating back to the middle of the Montreal series, and Boston’s special teams unit seemed overwhelmed by the pressure that the Canes exerted on both points and at Marc Savard conducting things on the right sidewall during each PP attempt.
The B’s coach felt that the haphazard-looking power play was part of a bigger malady that struck at the Black and Gold over the first two periods: lackadaisical, out-of-sync play that infected all facets of their game.
“I thought our power play reflective of our whole game. We’re not as sharp as we can be and our whole decision-making was just iffy,” said B’s coach Claude Julien. “That followed through on the power play with the same thing. The power play was reflective of our whole game: winning battles, decision-making, and moving the puck. We weren’t sharp. We didn’t play as hard as we could have. We did in the third period when we started to play a little harder, but we need to play like that for 60 minutes rather than 20.”
With all that being said, there could be changes coming to the power play unit when it next makes an appearance at the RBC Center in Raleigh on Wednesday night for Game 3. Perhaps Milan Lucic will be inserted in place of Mark Recchi by the goal post, or Patrice Bergeron will be plunked down low as he was during PP moments in the last quarter of the season.
PP triggerman Marc Savard said the key to the man advantage is getting back the timing and puck movement that seemingly slackened during their long layoff prior to playing the Canes, and find alleys for more pucks through the forest of trees and in toward Cam Ward.
“We went in the third last night, and in our second to last power play we got back to basics and got pucks to the net and we were all around him. We couldn’t find a hole,” said Savard. “We just need to simplify things. We went through stretches during the year when things weren’t great, and we always seemed to stay in the top 10. We just need to get pucks to the net and get guys in front whacking away at it.
“We can’t be pretty. We need to get dirty in order to score goals,” added Savared. “It’s also about moving it quicker so a guy has a lane to shoot. In that last one we were getting (the puck) back, around and over and moving those lanes. I think when we’re not at our best we’re dusting (the puck) and holding it and looking. We need to be bang-bang and get more results.”
Or perhaps my own personal dream team power play will be constructed. What would it be, you ask? Putting David Krejci and Marc Savard both on the same five-man unit with perhaps Michael Ryder as a shooter/grinder in the corner collecting pucks and Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Wideman at the two point positions. The two centerman play together in 5-on-3 situations, and it would be interesting to see if they could work together on the same unit during 5-on-4 action. But, then again, there’s also a reason I’m blogging and Claude Julien is making space on his trophy shelf for a Jack Adams Award.
–Julien said that there is nothing bothering Zdeno Chara physically after suffering through a tough Game 2 that saw him finish with a bogus -3 for the night. Chara has appeared — at points during the season — to be slightly favoring his left knee, but Julien said he is “100 percent” healthy. Chara was not available to answer questions following the team workout on Monday.
“It was a tough night for the whole team. I guess because he gets a lot of credit for the way he plays, when he’s not on top of his game the first thing we do is notice it,” said Julien. “He’s going to be fine. He is 100 percent. No questions asked. Honestly, there are no issues there at all.”
–Recchi is obviously very familiar with the loud NASCAR-loving, Waffle House-eating Hurricanes home crowd and expects the B’s to be walking into something of a hockey hornet’s nest for Game 3 and 4 at the RBC Centre in Raleigh.
“It’ll be loud. It’s an energetic building, it’s loud and they get into it,” said Recchi. “They’ll be tail-gating all afternoon on Wednesday and they just feed off the energy. It’s going to be loud, so we’re going to have to prepare for it. It’s one of the loudest buildings I’ve ever been in, period. It’s the same as Montreal. You have to be ready to counter their start, push back and challenge them as well.”
–Patrice Bergeron mulled a little bit over the open net he missed in the first period of Game 2 and what might have been had he connected early in the game and given his team the quick lead, but the center was focused on Game 3 once the team worked out on Monday morning.
“You always think about it, but the puck was rolling and I caught it flat,” said Bergeron. “Yes, I should have put it in, but there are so many plays in any game that happen. You think about (a little), but you can’t think about it anymore.”