BOSTON — Vancouver holds three of the top 10 positions in power play goals this postseason, and two in the top four spots. Daniel Sedin has rocked the extra man advantage, with five power play goals in 21 games — tops the league in the category. Teammate Ryan Kesler is right behind with four of his own and even defenseman Sami Salo has recorded three.
Other statistics would dictate that Boston’s defense and penalty kill unit could not keep up with the fast-paced, skilled forwards that the Canucks are saturated with — especially on speciality teams.
With the media and the rest of the hockey world looking at the blaring 10.8% power play of the Bruins, the criticism and focus laid heavily on the lack of scoring. Sitting close to dead last, ranked 14th of 16, the Bruins power play unit has been less than glamorous this post season.
But Monday night was different for Boston’s special teams. The other side of the man advantage tells a different story, and perhaps a more important one as well — you better be able to reap what you sow.
Going up against one of the top power plays in the league, the Bruins had to teeter on the edge of playing the physical game that makes them so effective and not straight up giving the Canucks goal after goal while the Bruins sit idle in the penalty box.
But the penalty kill rose to the occasion, and, despite entering the sin bin eight times that night, the Bruins did not give up a goal, and instead added two shorthanded goals of their own, courtesy of Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille. Both goals were products of speed and strength, but no one seemed to think that two shorthanded goals were possible against such an effective Vancouver power play unit.
“When I’m out there I just try not to stop moving my feet,” Paille said. “My strength is my speed, so when I go out there I try to create as much havoc as possible so it’s paying off now, so I want to continue the next few games.”
Paille, as well as teammates Gregory Campbell and Marchand have been extremely effective together when down a man on the ice. Paille clocked in second in shorthanded time on ice for Bruins forwards, just behind Campbell.
According to Paille, his chatter back and forth with Campbell has created ties that work well with his line and even moreso on the PK.
“We talk constantly on the bench and what we want to do so I think we are aware of what each other is capable of,” Paille said. “We read off it very well so it’s great to have that chemistry.”
Head coach Claude Julien mentioned that having those two available for such an important aspect of the game is always nice to have, especially when they are this effective.
“They’ve been good,” he said. “We’ve liked them there since the start of the year. Been gerat penalty killers.
Those guys have been really good for us. Whenever they didn’t get an opportunity to play much as a fourth line, you could certainly rely on them heavily to help you out through the penalty kill.”
Killing all eight penalties on Monday, the Bruins improved their PK unit to second best at home in the playoffs so far — sitting only behind the Montreal Canadiens — allowing only five goals in 39 attempts at TD Garden. The power play wasn’t looking to shabby either. Though the Bruins only had four attempts with the extra attacker, they capitalized twice, the first goal being the eventual game winning goal.
“So far things have gone well on our power play,” Paille said. “It’s nice to see–we had a few power plays and we are capitalizing on them and moving the puck well, so it’s nice to see.”
The Bruins and Canucks will drop the puck tonight at 8 p.m. again at TD Garden in a crucial Game 4 for both teams. The Canucks will look to regain control after last game’s debacle, whereas the Bruins will hope to harness the energy they created and move to tie the series up before heading back to Vancouver.
“We’re starting to, I guess, realize that our game plan and what we’ve done all year can be successful against this team,” Julien said. “We just got to keep going with that same focus and bring it back to the table again tonight.”