There’s no doubt the Boston Bruins’ first-round series against the Washington Capitals will be a physical one.
And where that’s the case, there will be plenty of power plays and penalty kills on both sides. If there’s anything that the Bruins have a disadvantage against the Capitals, it will come on man-advantage opportunities as Washington has the edge head-to-head statistically heading into the playoffs.
Here’s how the two teams have looked overall during the regular season and against each other on the power play.
- The Bruins power play was 21.9% effective in scoring during the regular season, ranking third in the East and 10th overall in the NHL.
- The Caps were 24.8% on their power play this season, ranking first in the East and third overall in the league.
Between the clubs:
- The Bruins were three for 24, 12.5%, against the Capitals on the power play this season.
- The Capitals were eight for 31, 25.8%, on their man-advantage in the eight games.
Most effective attackers on both sides:
The Capitals have four players with 15 or more power-play points during the regular season. Against the Bruins, the Capitals were eight for 31 on their man-advantage. Out of those eight goals, five were netted by three of their top power-play scorers. Those four guys have also registered at least three points each for the Capitals on the man-advantage in games against the B’s.
T.J. Oshie has probably been the most consistent on the power play for the Capitals. He led his team with 13 goals on special teams and scored the most against the Bruins, netting three goals. Overall, he had four power-play points facing the B’s. He scored those three goals in his last three games against the Bruins from April 8 to April 18.
Alex Ovechkin registered three power-play points in eight games against the Bruins with one goal and two assists. Ovechkin hit a milestone with his man-advantage play this season, surpassing Brett Hull to become the No. 2 all-time power-play goal scorer with 269 goals. In the regular season, he accumulated nine power-play goals and 12 assists for a total of 17 points.
Nicklas Backstrom led his team with 22 man-advantage points and registered three of those on assists against the B’s. Although he’s been fairly quiet on the power play lately, he’ll be one the Bruins should keep an eye on for set-ups.
John Carlson has also not been as productive recently for the Caps’ special teams, but he has registered one goal and two assists on the power-play in his seven games against the Bruins.
The Capitals have 13 players on their roster who’ve registered at least one point for their power play.
The Bruins have four players with 13-18 power-play points this season. Against the Capitals however, those four only registered two assists, both on the same goal back on January 30.
While Nick Ritchie potted one of the three goals, the limited production the Bruins have seen against the Capitals this season on the man-advantage has come more from the second unit. Craig Smith has two power-play goals against Washington. Charlie Coyle has assists on both of those goals, with Jake DeBrusk and Jakub Zboril picking up an assist each.
Overall, the Bruins have 12 players on the active roster who’ve contributed in some way on the power play.
David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron each have an assist against the Caps’ penalty kill, but both on the same goal. Krejci has four power-play assists in his last seven games and overall, 16 points. Bergeron led the Bruins with seven power-play goals, but has only picked up one point in 18 games on the man-advantage.
David Pastrnak had 14 power-play points during the season, with two assists in his last four games. His last goal on the power play was March 18.
Brad Marchand led the Bruins with 18 power-play points in the regular season, with four goals and 14 assists. Although he didn’t register any power-play points against the Caps, Brad Marchand picked up three power-play points in his last three games as the first special teams’ unit showed improvement on the man-advantage in May.
In the last seven games of the regular season, the Bruins netted five goals on the power-play, to be 27.8% on the man-advantage. The Bruins had struggled on the power play for a while, and at times it had seemed like a disadvantage for them to have the extra attacker. Although it looked worrisome during the second half of the season, it showed improvement to close out the regular schedule.
Heading into the postseason, things MIGHT be turning around just in time.
But the Bruins will have to play a disciplined game to keep the Capitals’ advantage as low as possible during the series – a task which is likely going to be hard.