There has been plenty said these past few years regarding the lackluster Boston power play, and justifiably so. The Bruins power play has finished in the bottom half of the NHL in each of the last 4 years. When playoffs have come around the power play completely disappears struggling to get anything going when counted on the most. Even the year that we won the cup we only managed a dreadful 11.4% during the postseason. The bottom line is that something needed to change with our power play going into this season, and thru just 2 games, it looks as if the Bruins may have found their answer.
photo via www.ctpost.com
It almost seems a no-brainer to park the 6'9" Zdeno Chara in front of the goalie on the man advantage, and it has been something that the Bruins have experimented with in the past, but with little success, until now. Maybe it was the 100% devotion to this strategy during the offseason or maybe Chara just needed some time to settle into his new role near the crease, but whatever the reason, it is certainly working. Chara's enormous frame is impossible to move from in front of the net, and there is no way any goalie can see over him; but perhaps the greatest impact that this has had on the power play unit has been the ease with which Chara can get to any rebound due in large part to the 65" pole that he calls a stick. No one knows the difficulty of playing with a giant standing directly in front of the net quite like a goalie, and Detroit Red Wing goaltender Jimmy Howard took note of the B's new power play:
"It's not easy when there's somebody that's 6-foot-9 standing in front of you, it's something you've got to figure out and try and find a way to try and find the puck. But it's extremely difficult with him in front."
Chara's old role as quarterback on the power play has been entrusted to the offensively gifted Torey Krug. Krug has fantastic control over the puck and, for a small guy, really gets a lot behind his slapshots. This, coupled with his incredible knack for finding the corners of the net makes he and Chara a formidable tandem on the power play. Filling in on the rest of the first power play unit are David Krejci, who has proven that he can adequately play the point, along with the big bodies of Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic who, with Chara, give the Bruins a distinct size advantage against any team when battling along the boards. The second power play unit has not capitalized yet on the limited opportunities they have had, but the unit of Dougie Hamilton, Johnny Boychuk, Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand was moving the puck well against the Red Wings and definitely looks to continue building chemistry as the season moves along.
It's still far too early to call this new strategy a success but with all the big bodies that the Bruins have down low on the man advantage and the skill we have up top, our power play will certainly be tough to game-plan against.