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Bruins power play has improved during Final

Friday, 06.21.2013 / 7:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer / Stanley Cup Final series blog

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Stanley Cup Final series blog
Bruins power play has improved during Final

CHICAGO -- In case you haven't noticed, the Boston Bruins are suddenly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the power play.

That's certainly music to the ears of coach Claude Julien. Though the Bruins had the worst power play percentage of any Stanley Cup champion when they won in 2011, there's no question coaches and players would feel more at ease if success with the man advantage came with regularity.

Despite the fact the Chicago Blackhawks entered the Final owning the best penalty-killing efficiency (94.8 percent) in the 2013 playoffs, the Bruins have managed four power-play goals in 14 opportunities. To put that in perspective, the Blackhawks had allowed three power-play goals in 58 times short through the opening three rounds.

Obviously, the Bruins hope the trend continues Saturday when they visit United Center for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The best-of-7 series is tied, 2-2.

"We've added some new personnel in there and we're moving the puck well and playing with a lot of confidence," Julien said. "Like anything else, confidence is a big part of the game. When you start feeling it, you try and hold on to it as long as you can, and right now I think our guys are feeling it. We feel confident about how we're handling the puck and moving it around and we're making some good decisions and it has gotten better.

"For all the struggles we had with it, what better time than now to be pretty decent on it."

Boston entered the Final with the 10th best power-play efficiency (15.6 percent) and sit seventh (18.6) following their two goals in Game 4 on Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston. Chicago's penalty kill has dropped to third (90.3).

"It's been great that we don't have to talk about our [power play] hurting us more than helping us and getting us big goals," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. "We're just moving the puck well and guys are supporting each other and supporting the puck. We've been able to find pucks around the net to get goals."

When the Blackhawks allowed two power-play goals Wednesday, it marked the first time since March 10 against the Edmonton Oilers they allowed as many as two in a game, breaking a streak of 42 straight. The Oilers scored three goals with the man advantage that night.

"Hopefully, we can keep that up because special teams are huge when it comes down to games like this," Lucic said.

Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins with four power-play goals, including three against the Blackhawks.

"I think it's about getting some shots quick and trying to move the puck as quick as we can," Bergeron said. "When you have a guy on the half-wall like [Jaromir] Jagr, obviously it helps a lot. I don't know, they're definitely a great defensive team and penalty kill is definitely one of their strengths. We're just trying to move the puck quickly."

David Krejci, who leads the League with 24 points in 20 playoff games, has one goal on the man-advantage. He stressed that while the Bruins are having some success on the power play, they need to proceed with caution.

"It's a good thing we're getting some results, but we also gave up one shorthanded goal [in Game 4] as well," Krejci said. "We have to be careful with those things, because we know they have some fast forwards."


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