Special attention being paid to power play
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Bruins have been confident in their five-on-five play throughout the postseason. They have been less confident in their special teams, particularly the power play.
But in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Canucks managed to outplay Boston at even strength, and the Bruins were happy — or at least happier — with their work on special teams.
Of course, this is a team that went 0 for 6 on the power play in that game, blanked by Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.
Asked about getting better on special teams, Patrice Bergeron said, “We have to. We have to find a way to score more goals. On the power play, it’s one key area that we need to fix and be better, especially having a five-on-three and a four-minute five-on-four, you’ve got to find a way.
“And five-on-five, we didn’t have that many chances, either. We need to make sure that we get to the net more and find a way to get more chances.’’
The Bruins’ power play is operating at just 7 percent efficiency in the postseason and has converted on only one of its last 20 chances. Attempting to rectify that, the Bruins have been using Zdeno Chara in front of the net. It seems to have helped, even though there have been few tangible results.
“I think they beat us at the five-on-five game,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “I think our special teams were good if not better than theirs, to be honest with you. We had more scoring chances on our power play.
“Special teams wasn’t an issue, but five-on-five they were no doubt a better team.’’
Julien believes the Bruins have made progress on the power play, despite being shut out Wednesday. They had more activity during their chances in Game 1, creating scoring opportunities and placing pressure on Luongo. Just not enough pressure.
“It’s amazing just because of how it’s been before, it’s still being kind of questioned today,’’ Julien said. “I think our power play was very good in moving the puck and creating some chances, and was dead even with Vancouver’s in my mind.
“We had more scoring chances than Vancouver did on the power play. If we’re going to criticize ours, we should criticize theirs at this stage of the playoffs.’’
Vancouver, too, was not able to convert on the power play, but the issue for the Bruins is not only getting chances, but getting quality chances to break out of their power-play slump.
“I think we had some good shots, but not necessarily all from the slot or the dangerous area,’’ Bergeron said. “So we’ve got to improve that and make sure we fight our way close to the front of the net. Obviously they’re doing a good job of boxing us out, but we’ve got to find a way.’’
Not a critical time Johnny Boychuk has been on the ice for the last seven goals scored against the Bruins, and the one with 18.5 seconds left in Game 1 might have been the most difficult to handle. It resulted, in part, from a bad decision by Boychuk.
Asked about Boychuk’s play in the postseason, Julien said, “Let’s put it this way, at this time of the year I’m not going to come in here and criticize my players. So I’m not going to answer that question as far as we’re going to deal with it internally. I think what we have to do here is regroup as a team and play better.
“Right now I’m not going to stand here and start answering questions about people criticizing individuals. I’m going to stay with the team concept. I think if you ask him, he knows he probably could have played that last goal a lot better. We all know that, but we all need to move on right now.’’
Keep it real The Bruins and the Boston Police Department warned fans yesterday to be wary of purchasing counterfeit tickets for this series, which comes to Boston Monday for Game 3. The way to ensure that tickets are authentic is by buying them through the Bruins website, Ticketmaster.com, in person at the TD Garden box office, or at a Ticketmaster outlet. Information about the selling of counterfeit tickets should be directed to District A-1 detectives at 617-343-4248 or anonymously at 1-800-494-TIPS.