WILMINGTON, Mass. – Even at 3-1-0 on the season, the Bruins aren’t above acknowledging their blemishes.
So like an actress spreading a little cover-up over an expanding zit, the Bruins worked on their power play for around 30, 40 minutes of their hour-long practice today at Ristuccia Arena.
Although they didn’t have Zdeno Chara on the ice because of a day off, the Bruins rolled out two units and had their penalty-killers try to wreak havoc with their sticks upside down. At one end of the rink, Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi worked the points with Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton filling the forward slots. At the other end, Patrice Bergeron slid back to a point spot alongside Johnny Boychuk while Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder and Tyler Seguin worked their magic up front.
It was all part of the quest to turn a 1-for-15 disaster into an asset for the club before the ineptitude catches up to them.
“I think we’ve just got to do a better job of establishing a shot,” said Lucic. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be the perfect shot every time, it’s just got be a shot that gets through, maybe create a rebound or even a shot like [Matt] Hunwick’s goal [Tuesday] where it was just a good screen and it just finds a lane to the net. We’ve got to do whatever we can to gain some momentum off some good, strong power plays and that’s what most of the focus was today.”
Oddly enough, many of the Bruins’ 5-on-5 goals this season have come as the result of the types of plays you usually see on a power play. Whether it’s Hunwick wristing the puck through a screen or Lucic or Jordan Caron burying a rebound, the Bruins seem to have the tools for an effective man-advantage. Now it’s just a matter of putting those things to work when their opponent goes down a man.
“Maybe we’re thinking too much,” said Seidenberg. “Because we’re thinking, we’re not moving our feet and when you don’t move your feet you don’t get shooting lanes. And one thing runs into the other. So I think today we made a step in the right direction.”
Head coach Claude Julien stressed that there has to be more shooting, in particular from the back end, and harder work done against other teams’ penalty-killers. If it’s any consolation, the Bruins are near the top of the league in 5-on-5 scoring.
“We probably shouldn’t change a thing going [from even strength] into the power play there,” said Lucic. “We’ve just got to stay patient, we can’t get frustrated and we’ve just got to do whatever we can to get shots on net and get traffic.”