Please note: This was written before the Bruins away game at Carolina. If something should happen in Carolina that proves my points to be invalid, suck it.
You know what is really pissing me off this past week with the Bruins? Surprisingly...nothing. Since the debacle in Montreal, the Bruins have been playing some sound hockey. The team is 4-1 since blowing a 2-0 lead at the Bell Center and although not all of the pieces have been polished (see: defense), the machine is running very well.
It is obvious that there are a few things that need to be addressed but I wouldn't necessarily say I'm pissed off about them. The first is the power play. It's painfully obvious that the Bruins power play is deficient in most areas. There seems to be little cohesion when the team is on the man advantage. Sometimes they'll get it and score but most of the time the penalty is killed by the opponent and life goes on. It's frustrating that the power play is so bad given the amount of talent on this team.
For the season the Bruins are 17.6% successful on the power play. That leaves them at 19th in the NHL, which is rather consistent if you look at where they were at the end of last year (16/6% success, good for 23rd overall). During this five game stretch were Boston posted a 4-1 record, they went 5 for 23 on the power play (21.7% on the power play) which is above their season average, but still not great. Game by game they look like this:
After the jump.... Greg breaks down recent powerplay struggles and discusses how the B's need to tighten their defense......
1/10 @ Pittsburgh: 2-5
1/11 vs. Ottawa: 0-5
1/13 vs. Philadephia: 1-5
1/15 vs. Pittsburgh: 0-3
1/17 vs. Carolina: 2-5
It is a little disheartening to see two zero spots, especially against Ottawa who isn't a good hockey team. However, if the Bruins are able to keep a 21-22% clip going on the power play they should be okay. To put that number in perspective, Vancouver currently leads the NHL at 24.7%. If the Bruins were to end up with a 21-22% success rate on the power play it could land them in the top five.
Another annoyance with this team is the defense. Under Claude Julien, the Bruins have been known for their tough defense, but lately it hasn't been up to snuff. The game against Philadelphia was a real eye opener. The Flyers had multiple breakaway chances and Daniel Briere was all alone on his goal. Against Pittsburgh the Bruins defense gave up a breakaway to Evgeni Malkin and made some passing mistakes as well.
I don't want to hear that "well they won so it doesn't matter" because it does matter. If this team is going to be about defense then the actual defenders need to play well. Boston still leads the NHL in goals against per game at 2.13 but how much of that is the play of Thomas/Rask and how much is the defense. Boston has one player in the top 30 in blocked shots (Seidenberg with 101; 8th overall amongst defensemen), has one player in the top 30 in giveaways (Chara has 33, which ranks him at 25) and has no one in the top 30 in takeaways.
Between those two things though, there isn't much to be annoyed about. It is pretty comical to see the "Fire Julien" people silenced. I'll admit that I am one of them but they are playing well. There needs to be a change of philosophy with the power play though.
-- Random Thoughts --
- People need to chill with the "Thomas Sucks" talk. The dude is sporting a sick 1.82 GAA. Do you know who is close to him? Pekka Rinne with a 2.13 GAA. "Well GAA is good but what about the other categories you dbag" Oh do you mean the league leading save percentage of .944 (second is Rinne and Lundqvist with .927) or his league leading 7th shutout? Someone tried to make an argument that Thomas sucks because he has no rings. So you, wonderful person on the 'nets, would you rather have Antti Niemi, Cam Ward, or Nikali Khabibulin? Didn't think so. Shut your mouth and enjoy the games, ya nincompoop.
- Matt Bartowski is from Pittsburgh, if you didn't know that already.
- Steve Kampfer is looking like quite the hockey player. My favorite thing about the kid, he did the "Ray Bourque" when he scored the GWG against Philadelphia.
- I love the use of the word nincompoop.So that's about it. Again, nothing Earth shattering by any means but nothing is ever perfect.