WILMINGTON, Mass. — Their power play still stuck in a rut despite a 5-on-3 goal scored Friday night on Long Island, the Bruins continued to practice today with their top three lines all in the mix as potential power-play forwards.
The Bruins briefly unveiled their latest scheme in the 4-2 loss to the Islanders. the 5-on-3 goal was the only Boston man-advantage score in four chances that night.
Boston’s power play started today ranked 20th in the league and has cashed in just once in 23 opportunities over the last nine games.
“You’ve got to do something to get the power play going. We felt that if we had three lines, for the time being anyway, it would be a competition here to get guys to earn their time on the power play and work a little harder,” said head coach Claude Julien after his team’s practice session at Ristuccia Arena. “When he looked at our personnel too, [Brad] Marchand’s been scoring goals for us, [Mark] Recchi and [Michael] Ryder are two of our leading point-getters on the power play, but yet you’ve got some other guys, the [David] Krejci line’s been going well, so we’re just trying to create a little bit of competition.
“At the same time, I thought that last game, despite that 5-on-3 goal, we hit two crossbars or posts. With a little bit of luck, you’ve got three goals and we had four power-play chances, so we feel it’s coming and we’ve just got to stick with it.”
While the move to have three groups competing for man-advantage time is a bit unorthodox, a couple of Boston’s key power-play performers see no problem with the decision.
“You’ve got to work to get your ice time. So I think it’s fine,” said center Patrice Bergeron. “And obviously if we’re going out there as lines, we know how to work with each other usually on the ice. So it might help.”
“Absolutely [it’s good]. There’s three extra spots there that guys are working hard for in practice, and trying to impress in practice,” said forward Rich Peverley, who noted that he has seen other coaches try this tact. “You’ve got to take that to the game. I think it’s a healthy competition.”
The way the power play has let the Bruins down the last month or so, it’s worth it for the coaching staff to try anything. Heck, next we could even see Shawn Thornton battling in front of the opposing goal.