Boston Bruins: Same old story against Canadiens

After two games between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens a familiar theme has had the biggest impact on the series.  Throughout their rivalry, the Bruins have always had trouble staying out of the penalty box against Montreal.  More times than not, those penalties have come back to haunt the Bruins as the Habs are usually very dangerous on the power play.  Coming into this series however roles were reversed, the Bruins were the team with the more dangerous power play.  Montreal was only 2-13 on the power play in their first-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the Bruins were 6-16 on the power play in the first-round.  So far in this series however, it has been the same old story between the Bruins and the Canadiens.

The Bruins have been drawn into bad penalties in the first two games and Montreal, in large part thanks to P.K. Subban, has capitalized on their chances.  In nine power play chances, the Canadiens have scored four times. The Bruins have struggled to find an answer for Subban, who has used his excellent agility and puck handling to find open shooting lanes at the point.  Boston has not been as “skilled” at drawing penalties on Montreal.

The Canadiens have only found themselves on the penalty kill five times and have killed all of them.  Despite having a much improved power play during the regular season and the best power play during the first-round of the playoffs, the Bruins have struggled to take advantage of having the extra skater.  The difficulty on the power play can be attributed to two factors; they are unable to win some races to free pucks after they dump it into the offensive zone, and they have not been finishing their chances.  Losing races to the puck is understandable because Montreal is the quicker team, but not burying great scoring opportunities is inexplicable and needs to change going forward in the series.

This series between the Bruins and Canadiens has followed the same storyline so far through two games.  The Canadiens have done a better job at drawing penalties, with an almost 2-to-1 advantage in power play opportunities.  When Boston has been on the power play, they have not been scoring despite getting some great offensive chances.  During 5-on-5 play the Bruins are the better team and would win this series in five or six games.  The games have not been played at full strength however because it has been the same old story between the Bruins and Canadiens.