WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins have scored one power play goal in each of their last six games, and have moved back into the top half of the league’s man-advantage rankings as of this morning to 13th with a success rate of 18.1 percent.
But that doesn’t mean head coach Claude Julien and his staff are done tinkering with the personnel.
Last Friday’s trades with Atlanta and Toronto gave Julien some new players to work in, and today the club spent some time during practice at Ristuccia Arena ironing out its five-man units.
Gone from the power play were Gregory Campbell and Brad Marchand, who had been adding a gritty element to one of the groups. Instead, one unit featured Dennis Seidenberg and Steven Kampfer at the points with David Krejci and Milan Lucic up front and a rotation of Michael Ryder and Nathan Horton joining them at forward.
The other group featured Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference (filling in for the absent Tomas Kaberle) on the blue line with Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi and newcomer Rich Peverley as the forwards. Peverley mostly worked the left half-wall.
“He’s got a pretty good shot. He’s got the quick release. And just watching him this morning on the power play, he seems to be moving the puck well and making good decisions,” said Julien about the former Thrashers’ potential contribution to the man-advantage. “We’ll get a better idea in those games coming up, but that’s what you get from him. I think we like the way he’s got that quick release.”
Twelve of Peverley’s 34 points and six of his 14 goals this season have come on the power play.
“In Atlanta, we kind of didn’t have set positions,” he said after his second practice with the Bruins. ‘I played with [Andrew] Ladd and [Nik] Antropov and we were kind of all over the place. Antropov preferred being in front of the net. It was kind of a rover thing, and sometimes I’d end up on the half wall over there. We had some pretty good defensemen in [Dustin] Byfuglien and [Tobias] Enstrom. So it looks like it’s going to be the same thing here with some great defensemen.”
Peverley said the overall approach of the Boston power play is similar to what the team was trying to do in Atlanta.
“I think it’s pretty similar. A lot of power play concepts are just getting the puck back to the D men, especially when you’ve got Chara back there to shoot the puck and get to the net,” he said. “I think it’s probably no different here either.”
It might be a risk for Julien to mess with success, but Peverley comes over from the eighth-ranked power play in the league. He might be able to get Boston’s man-advantage to the next level now that it’s back among the top 15.