PHILADELPHIA — The best cure for the Bruins’ power play right now would be to have a healthy Marc Savard working the half wall on one of their quintets.
That’s obviously not going to happen any time soon because the star center is still dealing with post-concussion syndrome. However, Savard has tried to have some influence from afar, as head coach Claude Julien revealed today after his team’s practice at the Wells Fargo Center.
“There’s the player and there’s the individual. I care for him as an individual and really hope that he gets better for the sake of his personal life. I’ve texted to see how he’s doing and every once in a while I said ‘I thought you were going to text me to give me some tips on certain parts of our game,'” said Julien, whose team will play Game 2 of its Eastern Conference semifinal series with Philadelphia tomorrow night.
“So as soon as I opened that door, he took advantage of it. So I’ve gotten a few tips from him.”
After going 0-for-5 in Game 1 against the Flyers, the Bruins’ power play is 0-for-26 in eight postseason contests. Tips from Zeus might not even be able to help at this point.
Julien said he saw some slight signs of improvement against Philly. But no results still means things aren’t working the way the club needs them to.
“I really think, when you look back at the game, you see where there’s some openings, some opportunities and right now it’s unfortunate, on our power play we’re not finding those,” said the coach. “We seem to be finding them 5-on-5, but we’re not 5-on-4. So that tells you something. There’s a lot of tension there, and when you’re tense you’re not seeing what’s going on. Seams and choices of plays.
“Five-on-5, we make the right choices, we find the right seams. So there’s got to be a time where those guys have to relax and understand they have to find those seams and make the right decision with choices of play.”
If Julien had his choice of players for the power play, he’d start with Savard. He can’t do that, however, so the 11 or 12 guys currently in the mix are going to have to get it done. As long as the penalty kill is as solid as it’s been, the Bruins might be able to wait a little longer for the power play to arrive.
“When you’re power play isn’t going, your PK has to be really good, and it has been,” said Julien. “It’s unfortunate that [the Flyers scored a] goal late in the game, but I thought our penalty kill has done a decent job and has helped us survive the lack of scoring from our power play.”
That’s what the Bruins have been reduced to — leaning on the penalty kill to make up for the impotent power play. That’s been a winning combination so far, but there’s no telling how long it can last.