Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason; they are oversimplified ideas based on truths. Even the previous statement is somewhat of a stereotype. It lacks originality and is somewhat cliché. Unfortunately, for fans of the Boston Bruins, their beloved black and gold are slowly becoming a stereotypical, middle of the pack hockey club, especially when it comes to special teams.
The Bruins have always prided themselves on being a tough defensive team and expert penalty killers. However, this season the Bruins have only successfully killed 95 of the 120 penalties called against them. This gives them a 79.2% penalty kill ratio which ranks them 23rd in the NHL. This is a far cry from past two years where the Bruins ranked 8th in 2013 and 4th in 2012.
In the first game of the new calendar year, the Bruins looked like a brand new team when it came to special teams play. In the second period the Bruins killed a key 5-on-3 penalty kill as Adam McQuaid and Brad Marchand were whistled for penalties just 18 seconds apart. They would kill another 5-on-3 in the third period. Boston was also able to capitalize on the man-advantage and go 1 for 3 on the power play. The lone power play goal was scored by defenseman Torey Krug. Unfortunately, the Bruins lost in over time 3 to 2, to the Ottawa Senators.
“The guys did a great job killing those penalties,” said Krug. “Both 5-on-3s, the guys were huge, and Tuukka was our best penalty killer and that’s what you need.”
When it comes to the power play, the Bruins have a better chance of seeing Halley’s Comet streak through the TD Garden than they do getting a man advantage. The Bruins have had just 90 chances on the power play, the fewest in the NHL. In 20 games this season, they’ve had two opportunities or less, and have been held without a man-advantage chance twice this season. Although, not getting many chances, the Bruins have scored 17 power play goals, and have scored at least one power play goal in their last three games.
“Special teams are really important,” said Bruins’ forward David Krejci. “I thought the PK did a very good job today, two 5-on-3s, and we had one goal out of three power plays. A couple other good looks, so, I thought special teams was decent, we got to build on that, and hopefully, hopefully we will play a good game tomorrow.”
The Bruins hope to improve on both their penalty kill and power play numbers as they take on their next opponent, the Carolina Hurricanes, tomorrow at 1PM in North Carolina.