BOSTON — One pressing issue for the Bruins during the course of their season has been the inability to convert on the power play. That concern was evident as the Bruins went 0-for-4 while on the man advantage in their 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild Thursday night at TD Garden.
Before the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien addressed this concern during the morning skate. But the team was unable to respond as they only took four shots on goal on perennial Bruins killer Jose Theodore — who made 36 saves on the night — in their four opportunities on the man advantage.
“I think you put your best players out there – especially on the power play – and you hope for them to move the puck the way they can and take the shots when they are there, but tonight we didn’t do any of that,” said Julien. “We were soft on the battles, and we have to take responsibility for that. That’s what hurt us tonight was the power play and also the fact that we had some shooting opportunities and it didn’t happen.”
During the first three power plays, the Bruins were unable to generate any offense and because of that, Julien mixed up his power play combinations on the last power play. But even though the Black and Gold were able to generate a couple of chances on the fourth man advantage with all the changes — especially during the last few seconds and even after the power play expired — they still couldn’t produce any results.
And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, consider that the Bruins are now 0-for-35 lifetime against the Wild while they have the man advantage.
“I think once we shuffled it up in the third we had a couple good opportunites there,” said Bruins rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer, who scored the Bruins’ lone goal at 10:50 of the second period. “But at the same time we’re not shooting the puck enough and that’s a key to our power play is shooting the puck and right now we’re not getting the opportunities. So I think that’s something we’re going to discuss and we got to start shooting the puck more.”
While the Bruins came back home after a successful five-game road trip, which saw the Bruins go 3-0-2 during that span, the fans got a little restless and booed the team after each of the four power play’s.
Case in point, the Bruins faithful wants their team to shoot the puck more, especially on the power play. And Marc Savard perhaps said it best about the team’s inability to perform at home on the man advantage.
“We seem to do that a lot at home,” said Savard, who’s gaffe in the third period resulted in Cal Clutterbuck’s game winning goal at 2:22. “For whatever reasone we are on the power play and have good movement going to the top we seem for whatever reason to wait and take the shot.
“We move the puck to the next guy and he takes the shot and it is blocked. For whatever reason it isn’t happening.”
The Bruins will hope to get the power play together — which hasn’t scored in their last 10 opportunities — in another key showdown with the Montreal Canadiens (who now trail the Bruins by one point in the Northeast division standings after their win over Pittsburgh Thursday) at the Bell Centre Saturday night. But in the meantime, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
“This is a tough game. This is not a game that we should be happy with, but at the same time we need to make sure we’re ready for the next game and that’s going to be the most important thing right now,” Julien explained. “We’ve come off a real successful road trip and we had a disappointing effort tonight at home, but we have an opponent that we have to beat next game [in Montreal].”