Boston Strong: A Look at the Bruins’ Powerful Power Play

Heading into tonight’s contest with the Anaheim Ducks, the Boston Bruins find themselves at #2 in the Atlantic Division with 86 points. They are battling for the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, with only 11 games left in the NHL regular season.

 

Roster Construction

The Bruins’ roster is constructed from a mix of skilled young and veteran players. Over the past few seasons, the Bruins’ front office has walked the fine line between bringing in younger players while remaining a playoff contender in the competitive Eastern Conference.

The recent influx of young players includes forwards Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak, and Torey Krug (with 45, 34,and 34 points, respectively) on the blue line who are all products of the draft. Flanking are forwards Jimmy Hayes, Brett Connolly, and Landon Ferraro who was picked off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

On the other hand, Boston has a stockpile of skilled veterans including forwards Brad Marchand (54 points), David Krejci (51 points), and Patrice Bergeron (61 points).  On the backend, Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller have combined for 6.9 defensive point shares.

 

Even Strength Play

On the surface, Boston has performed at an elite level on even strength play, scoring 137 goals with a +13 goal differential. From a more analytical standpoint, however, the Bruins face a deficit in even strength scoring chances (47.7 SCF%) and high danger scoring opportunities (HSCF% 48.4 ) ranking in the bottom third of the NHL in each these categories.  The Bruins’ opponents are also generating 135 more shot attempts than the Bruins.

The silver lining to their lack of scoring chances is Boston’s 8.1% shooting percentage, which ranks  4th in the league. This suggests that the Bruins generate higher quality scoring chances and possess above average snipers.

Scoring Chance.png

 

A Thriving Power Play

The Bruins’ power play has in large part moved them from a fringe playoff team to a Stanley Cup contender. Their 21.2% power play rate ranks 8th in the NHL with 41 goals and only 1 short-handed goal allowed.

Player

P PSh%

TOI/Gm

Krug 14  0    3.5
Kreji 14 7.69    3.49
Bergeron 22 19.61    3.25
Ericksson 12 27.27    3.16
Spooner 15 13.16    3.11
Chara 10 3.45    1.6
Marchand 8 3.45    1.41
Belesky 5 15.38    1.09

Boston’s power play has continued to thrive with the puck moving and pinpoint passing of Krug. On the flip side, Chara uses his massive 6’9″ frame to build effective screens in front of the net, while creating additional space for the Bruins’ power play unit.

Power Play %.png

 

Bergeron’s 10 goals and 12 assists on the power play make him among the most dangerous scorers and passers in the league, winning 59.3% of face offs on the power play. Loui Ericksson has chipped in 9 goals with over a quarter of his shots finding the back of the net.

 

Season Finish

Looking ahead, the Bruins face a tough remaining schedule to close out the season. Having just dropped a game to the Sharks, they must travel down the Golden State to face the Ducks, and Kings, before returning to the East Coast to face the Rangers.

With the Panthers just 3 points ahead, and the Lightning just 1 point behind, the Bruins are on the hot seat, desperate for every available point. However, if Boston can maintain its power play success for the remainder of the season, they will be one of the most dangerous teams in the Stanley Cup hunt.

 

 

Footnotes

[1]  Defensive Point Shares(DPS) estimates the number of wins “created” by the player

[2]  The average age on the Bruins is 27.3 compared to 28.2 in 2012-2013

[3]  Fenwick = shots+ shot attempts that missed the net

[4]  Of the top 10 Fenwick leaders, 8 teams currently hold playoff spots

 

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