BOSTON -- Often a weakness the past several seasons, especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' power play has become a driving force for the team that leads the Eastern Conference Semifinals with the New York Rangers, 3-1, heading into Game 5 on Saturday at TD Garden (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).
The Bruins are 3-for-9 with the man-advantage, led by rookie defenseman Torey Krug. The playoff call-up from Providence of the American Hockey League has scored two of those three goals.
"I think that we're just not passing up those good opportunities," Krug said after practice Friday at TD Garden. "You'd see sometimes in the past we'd be passing the puck and we'd want to make that extra pass. But this time, we're shooting pucks, we're getting pucks to the net, and guys are taking away Henrik's [Lundqvist] ice."
From his days at Michigan State through his days with the Providence Bruins, Krug has always been a dynamic power-play performer. In the back of his mind, he always thought he'd be able to boost Boston's man-advantage, which was ranked 26th in the NHL with a 14.8 percent success rate (last among playoff teams). Even when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, they were 10-for-88 on the power play.
"Well, that's one of the reasons that I signed with Boston. They struggle a little bit in that area," Krug said. "At the same time, you're down in Providence, you watch games, you understand that it’s just not clicking that well. So sometimes you think about it. But I'm a guy that's pretty focused and I was just kind of focusing on Providence and my development down there."
The Bruins have had to be efficient with the power play because their opportunities have been few and far between. They didn't earn a power play in their win in Game 3. They were 2-for-4 in their overtime loss in Game 4, with their third goal coming two seconds after a Rangers penalty expired.
"So our power play did a good job of producing, and whenever you can count on that, it's always a bonus," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.