If I were Claude Julien, this is how I would try to get Boston’s first power play unit going:
1. Get Zdeno Chara out from in front of the net: Chara does not have the hands to be the guy in that spot. In addition, can he afford to take the extra abuse that position needs to take? The guy is already paying 27 to 30 minutes a night. That spot is tailor-made for Milan Lucic, but if he is not up to it, Nathan Horton is also a good bet. He has a ton of goals around the crease in the postseason.
2. Put Patrice Bergeron on the point and switch to an umbrella: Tomas Kaberle does an adequate job of dishing the puck, but he cannot get a shot through, so he does not even draw any defenders to him. If he cannot at least be a threat to shoot the puck, the B’s need to go to Bergeron, who is just as adept at moving the puck as Kaberle and is a threat to shoot. Put him at the top of the umbrella with Horton and Chara in the shooting positions along the sides, Lucic in front, and David Krejci as the lurker looking for an opening or a rebound. The weak side shooter also needs to be cheating down for rebounds as well, as he (Chara or Horton) should get some good looks off rebounds.
3. Shoot the puck more: I am not one of those people who yells shoot throughout a power play. I understand the guy with the puck has a much better idea of what is going on than I do, and I trust that guys who have made it to the NHL are more than capable of making good decisions with the puck. But Boston is not even getting good looks on the PP, which is why I think the umbrella will work better for them. Not to mention the fact that the proven way to beat Roberto Luongo is fire shots at his feet and crash for rebounds. Chicago did it with a lot of success, and Nashville had some success with the strategy as well.
As for PP unit No. 2, I would use the combination of Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg. Let Seguin set up on the outside to give him some room to operate and create, with Seidenberg on the other side. Put Marchand in front with Ference as the point and Bergeron (or Peverley if Bergeron goes on PP 1) as the roamer.
One more thing: keep Mark Recchi far away from the power play. He no longer has the speed or scoring touch (no PP points in almost 50 minutes of pp ice time).
Neither of these combinations may work, but neither can be much worse than the 5-for-67 the Bruins have put up this postseason.
If the Bruins are to beat the Canucks, they are going to need to score a few power play goals. It is obvious to everyone, except maybe Julien and his staff, that what they have been doing does not work and will not work. It’s time to make some changes if they want to win the Stanley Cup.
- Got to love Julien’s response to a question about Boychuk’s poor decisions of late, as he said he wouldn’t answer questions about individual players and wanted to keep it in house, and then said that if you asked Boychuk about the play, he’d say “He could have played it better.”
- Tim Thomas has allowed just two goals in four starts against Vancouver. If the series ended right now, Thomas would be the Conn Smythe winner – even on the losing team.
- Lucic told media members that no one (implying the media) was giving the Bruins a chance in the series and that the Bruins were going to use that as motivation to prove everyone wrong.
Interesting piece by Steve Conroy in today’s Boston Herald throwing out the idea of playing Shawn Thornton and sitting Seguin, who will have little value in a tight-checking game. I have no problem with putting Thornton in, but I would not sit Seguin because he could be useful on the power play and other situations where offense is needed (like coming from behind), Gregory Campbell would likely be the odd-man out if Thornton were to play, as Daniel Paille is too valuable on the penalty kill and Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly are all-around better players than the other possibilities.
- Manny Malhotra skated with a cage on this morning, and will be a “game-time decision” according to coach Allain Vigneault. Malhotra could be a huge lift for the Canucks, who might be without Dan Hamhuis. Vancouver’s second-best defenseman behind Kevin Bieksa, Hamhuis was hurt delivering a crushing hip check to Lucic in Game 1. Andrew Alberts, a former Bruin, will likely take Hamhuis’ spot on the roster, but don’t expect to see much of him.
- Dave Bolland and Ryan Whitney both bashed on the Canucks, with Bolland calling Burrows a “little girl” and Whitney saying “90 percent of the league wants nothing to do with seeing them win.”
- Prediction for Game 2: The Bruins have bounced back from adversity so many times, it is hard to bet against them. Game 2 is a huge momentum swing, and a Boston win puts them in great position. The Canucks are a more explosive team, and giving them a 2-0 lead could be deadly. Look for the Bruins to pressure and bang Luongo around a bit and come away with a 2-1 win.
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Tags: Alex Burrows Allain Vigneault Andrew Alberts Andrew Ference Boston Bruins Boston Herald Brad Marchand Chris Kelly Claude Julien Dan Hamhuis Daniel Paille Dave Bollard David Krejci Dennis Seidenberg Game 2 Gregory Campbell Johnny Boychuk Kevin Bieksa Manny Malhorta Mark Recchi Milan Lucic Nathan Horton Patrice Bergeron Power Play Rich Peverley Roberto Luongo Ryan Whitney Shawn Thornton Stanley Cup Steve Conroy Tim Thomas Tomas Kaberle Tyler Seguin Vancouver Canucks Zdeno Chara