The Bruins have three power play goals in their last four games and have seen their conversation rate bump from a pitiful 9% success rate to a slightly less pitiful 13%. And they've gone from the second worst in the NHL to third worst... hey, baby steps, folks. Just ahead of them on the "awful PP" list is Buffalo (13.6), Columbus (13.6), and Detroit (13.9).
Bruins were 1-1 last night, 1-2 against the Sabres and 1-6 against the Sabres again.
So why the sudden influx of PPGs?
A possibility. We're not ruling it out... yet. But let's take a look at the recent goals.
More after the jump....
Here's Marchand's goal from last night.
This was a lot of the Jets being too anxious and too aggressive to attack the puck handler -- in this case Bergeron. Patrice carries the puck over the blue line and garners the attention of three of the four Winnipeg penalty killers.
That lets Bergern to make a nice, hard pass within Marchand's reach. And then the LBoH just does one of the many things he does best. Dangle through some defenders and humiliate the opposing team.
Looking at that play it's no wonder why Winnipeg's PK is dead last in the NHL.
So they key to this goal was simply getting that puck over the blue line and getting the PKers out of position. It took less than 30 seconds this time around because Winnipeg is awful, awful, awful. A PPG is a PPG but this is just as much the Jets sucking on the PK (66%) as it is Boston earning that goal.
The game before that was the horrible letdown loss against the Buffalo Sabres. One of the highlights though was Douglas Hamilton getting his first goal of his NHL career, and it coming off the PP.
The Sabres were in trouble from the beginning of this video. Holy cow. We're almost surprised Seguin didn't bury this in himself from the start.
But instead, Seguin takes it around the back of the net and dishes it to David Krejci. Now there are three Sabres PKers in the Buffalo crease and while Ryan Miller is crawling around and belly flopping like he thinks he's Dominik Hasek or something. Now normally the Bruins would pass it here because when they finally get the puck in the offensive zone they just want to keep passing the puck to one another in some form of PP circle jerk. But instead, Krejci wrists the puck on net.
It's blocked and it finds it's way to Douglas Hamilton cruising up from the blue line.
Key to this was puck movement but good puck movement. Passing for the sake of passing doesn't do much if the PK unit can follow along. Seguin didn't think he could life over a sprawling Miller (and the way Miller was playing, Seguin might've been right), so he took it around back and gives it to an open Krecji. Then Krecji -- instead playing keep away -- fires the puck on net. Miller is still sprawling around. It's blocked 'cause there are three Sabres in the crease, so he gives to someone who has a better angle. It's simple and effective. And it worked. Boston was also able to force the Sabres to collapse in on itself, letting Boston creep in closer to the crease and fire hard shots from a shorter range.
Of course, Buffalo sucks. Their PK is 18th in the NHL at 80%. But Miller was carrying the Sabres on his back. During this sequence, he could do nothing but watch... like the penalty killers in front of him.
Boston went 0-4 on the PP against the Rangers. New York's PK is 8th in the NHL, 84%.
And the game before that was another game against the Sabres. Sensing a theme here? Boston went 1-6 on the PP in this game. The lone PPG coming off the stick of Patrice Bergeron.
This angle kinda sucks. It starts off with Peverly winning the face off and getting the puck back to their Chris Bourque. Being pressured by one Sabre defender and not being able to dish the puck off to his right 'cause there are two other Sabres there waiting to pick the pass off, Bourque is left with two options -- dish it to Peverly along the boards or fire it off the glass between Marchand and Peverly.
You can easily argue that Bourque should've passed it to Peverly but decisions are made fast and hindsight is 20/20. The puck hits the back end boards and takes a big bounce in Boston's favor. Both Marchand and the man on him over skate the puck. A second Buffalo defender also skated too far in to properly pick up the loose puck. So it finds its way to Patrice Bergeron
And Bergeron does what he does best -- be awesome.
Again, good puck movement was key here. When the Bruins try to get too fancy and make the defenders move via passes around the perimeter they fail miserably. And their cross ice passes on the PP are even worse. But when they're firing the puck on net, or at least moving the puck in that North/South direction they're able to cause a little chaos. And chaos on a power play is good for the attackers, bad for the defenders.
Boston needs more chaos in their PP diet.
So does this mean the Bruins PP has turned the corner? *shrugs* We're not convinced. Buffalo and Winnipeg's PK is horrendous. But a PPG is a PPG and sometimes beating up on shitty team can help build some confidence and grow a little momentum from game to game. Boston faces the Lightning on Thursday night. Tampa's PK is 15h in the NHL with a kill rate of 82%, so they're average. Another PPG or two against the Lightning would be good for building more confidence in shaky PP units.