Power Play Prowess Earns Boston Bruins A 2-1 Stanley Cup Final Lead

ST. LOUIS – The Boston Bruins power play was lights out on Saturday night.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy’s press conference after the game followed suit.

As he was answering a question about a man advantage that went a seemingly impossible 4-for-4 on just four shots on goal during their 7-2 win in Game 3, the lights in the makeshift media room briefly flickered on and off. 

It was about the only thing that went wrong for the Bruins all night, especially when it comes to a power play that’s clicking at a 35.9% success rate this postseason, currently second all-time only to the 1981 New York Islanders, and has been successful in each of their last seven playoff games, tying a franchise record.

Cassidy said he’s never seen anything like it.

“I think in terms of confidence, they know they have the ability to score and generate offense,” Cassidy said of his power play unit.

“The first two games—and it was a very small sample size—it was talked about, that we’re not going offensively, and one of the ways you get going offensively is to finish your chances and get going on the power play. We talked about that, it’s not unique to our team. Most skill guys, if they get the feel of the puck on the power play, good things start to happen.”

Via NHL Public Relations, using only 2:06 of power-play time to net their four such goals (on four shots), the Bruins also improved their road efficiency with the man advantage to 50.0% (14-for-28). They have scored at least one power-play goal in seven of nine road games in 2019, posting two of their three other 100% performances away from home (R1: Games 4 and 6 at TOR; CF: Game 2 vs. CAR).

While this postseason is somewhat the opposite of what happened when the Bruins won their last Cup in 2011—in the opening round that year, Boston became the first team in playoff history to win a seven-game series without tallying a power-play goal (0/21 vs. MTL), entered the Eastern Conference Final converting on just 2 of 37 opportunities (5.4%) and concluded the postseason going 10-for-88 (11.4%)—it is an accurate representation of how they’ve performed as of late, dating back to last year’s postseason.

Boston ranked third in the NHL during the 2018-19 regular-season with a 25.9% power-play percentage (65-for-251) and finished the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 36.4% rating (12-for-33 in 12 GP).

Torey Krug scored the third of Boston’s four power play goals on Saturday night and tallied all four of his points on his record-breaking evening—no player in franchise history had ever tallied four points in a Stanley Cup Final game, and he was the first defenseman to do it since New York’s Brian Leetch in 1994—with the Bruins on the man advantage.

“I think it was a night where everything went our way,” he said. “We tried to be more decisive as far as getting pucks to the net with one or two passes, and the fact that we knew that someone was going to shoot the puck off one or two passes, it allowed our guys to just get to the net in front of the goaltender’s eyes, and then recover the puck if there was a rebound. Assertiveness, good decision-making, and our guys came through.”

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