Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Mar 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) celebrates with center David Krejci (46) center Pavel Zacha (18) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins still aren’t where they want to be on the power play, but those struggling units finally showed a sign of turning things around.

Boston went 1-for-5 on the man advantage in Thursday night’s 2-1 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Not the explosion they seemingly need, but a strong first step. The Bruins totaled nine shots on goal on their five power plays, a sign that they’re improving in the puck recovery department, and generated three high-danger scoring chances (via Natural Stat Trick).

But the more intangible problems that plagued the Bruins’ PP were at least these two things: big plays outside of David Pastrnak, and movement. Literally, getting their bodies moving. They overcame both those issues on Tyler Bertuzzi’s power play goal, sparked by an eye-popping dangle and setup by Pavel Zacha, which came off a nifty pass from Charlie McAvoy. Perhaps not how they drew it up, but a dynamic play, nonetheless.

  • It would’ve been nice to see another one go in, and eliminate the need for overtime against one of the league’s worst teams. But the Bertuzzi goal was perhaps the best play the Bruins have made on the man advantage in weeks.

    “I thought the power play was better tonight,” head coach Jim Montgomery said after the game. “I thought we had a lot of significant, grade-A opportunities. We recovered pucks better. Our zone time was a lot better. So, lots of positives to build off there.”

    Mar 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) reacts with defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during overtime at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) reacts with defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during overtime at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

  • Despite finally breaking through on the second PP unit, Montgomery lamented the Bruins’ general lack of play speed on Thursday night. He acknowledged that the Bruins’ tight, busy schedule might be taking a toll.

    “I still don’t think we were very sharp, as we normally are,” Montgomery continued, “as far as crisp passing, our breakouts were slow, our neutral zone was slow, our O-zone play was slow. We’re not at our game. There’s fatigue that comes in with the numerous games we’ve played – I think we’re playing in the middle of 15 [games] in 26 or 27 [days] – it’s not easy. But, we’re finding ways to win.”

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  • Perhaps most encouraging for the Bruins’ power play is that they found a way to score off a penalty by the Jackets’ Lane Pederson, who crosschecked Patrice Bergeron up high. Trent Frederic later dropped the gloves and one-punched Pederson, completing the rally for the captain.

    This is a team that’s protecting each other at a high level. And they finally got a meaningful power play contribution from someone not named Pastrnak or Bergeron. We’ll see if this is the actual turning point.

  • Click here for complete Boston Bruins coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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