The Bruins have had one of the best power plays in the NHL since Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach. When you have Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand on the first unit, you are bound to give penalty killers headaches. When you have Torey Krug, a defenseman who can consistently rack up 50 plus points, you are downright lethal on the power play.
However, Boston will have to shake things up on the man advantage this season. Krug’s departure to St. Louis leaves a big hole on the blue line. Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy are the obvious answers to fill in on the PP.
Neither of these players are as skilled or as creative as Krug when skating 5 against 4. However, they should help the Bruins improve in one area on the power play.
As good as Boston is on the man advantage, they give up a ton of short handed goals. Since the 2017-2018 season, the Bruins have allowed a dubious 32 goals when skating 5 against 4.
One of the main reasons this would happen was Pastrnak and Marchand would occasionally be the 2 skaters walking the blue line. Krug would often roam around the zone and switch spots with Marchand.
With Krug now down by the half-wall, he could find unique passing lanes. Unfortunately, that would also mean a penalty killer would just need to beat Pastrnak and Marchand for a breakaway.
Grzelcyk and McAvoy are not going to be moving around as much as Krug did. That should, in theory, mean the Bruins give up fewer breakaway chances.
Another aspect that could limit the number of shorthanded goals Boston allows is if Grzelcyk and McAvoy share time on the power play. In the past, Krug would be the only defenseman on the ice for the first unit. If Grzelcyk and McAvoy are paired up, stability and good decision making will improve on the man advantage.
It is unfair to expect Grzelcyk and McAvoy to replace Krug’s PP production. It is unlikely the power play clicks at a 25% clip, as they did in 2020. However, more time on the man advantage for these 2 young, talented defensemen will bring a more sturdy, less chaotic 5 on 4 attack.
Story by Chad Jones
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