Given the opponent, Boston’s power-play stalwarts had to be licking their chops just prior to puck drop against the Flyers on Wednesday night.
Despite a recent blip in execution, Boston’s play on the man advantage has largely hummed at an effective rate for most of the 2018-19 season — cashing in on 27.8 percent of its chances (good for second place in the NHL), with that number jumping up to 34.7 since the start of January.
Big things were expected against a woeful Flyers’ penalty kill, which entered Wednesday’s primetime matchup ranked 28th among NHL clubs in terms of stymying the opposition on the man advantage.
Boston’s power-play prowess lived up to its billing in the opening stanza, with David Pastrnak one-timing a feed from Torey Krug past Carter Hart just 25 seconds into Philly’s first penalty of the night.
The opening salvo appeared to the first of multiple haymakers that the B’s were set to land against Hart in net. But as the minutes on the man advantage piled on as the game progressed and Boston’s lead slipped away, Bruce Cassidy noticed his club straying further and further away from what makes its power play one of the most lethal units in the league.
By the end of Boston’s frustrating 4-3 loss at the hands of the cellar-dwelling Flyers, the Bruins had just one power-play goal to show for against Philadelphia’s porous PK group despite logging 9:25 TOI during 5v4 situations.
Maybe the optics don’t look quite so bad at first glance. After all, most clubs would be happy with a 25 percent success rate, along with the 7-0 edge in shots on goal that Boston generated while on the power play Wednesday. When you add in Boston’s propensity to surrender shorthanded goals (a league-high 10 relinquish this year), Wednesday’s stalled showing had to carry a few silver linings, right?
Well, any good will went out the door during a five-minute stretch on the power play that largely put an end to any momentum Boston was still clinging to during the contest. Handed a prime chance after Jori Lehtera was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for a dangerous hit on Ryan Donato, Boston’s power play went to work in the final minutes of the second period. Well, at least it tried to.