The Boston Bruins are moving onto the second round of NHL playoffs, as they proved they were the real deal in their 4-1 first-round series win over the Washington Capitals. Now, the team and fans alike look forward to the second-round series against the New York Islanders. The Bruins obviously did a lot right in the first round of the Stanley Cup -layoffs, but there is always room for improvement. Here are three improvements the Bruins need to make in order to edge the Islanders in the upcoming series:
Power Play Conversion Rate
The B’s have had five power-play goals in five games against the Capitals, which doesn’t sound too bad, until you realize that they had 19 power-plays. It is enough for the fifth-best power-play percentage within the playoffs, with a power-play conversion rate of 26.32%. Being able to convert successfully on most power plays allows for the opportunity to close out teams more easily. This explains why the most dominant team in playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche, hold the highest power-play percentage in the playoffs right now at 50%.
Brad Marchand currently leads the team in playoff power-play goals with two. The percentage should improve if superstar sniper David Pastrnak can once again find his rhythm on the power play. However, that is easier said than done, with the Islanders having one of the best defensive systems in the league. Bruins’ fans will be watching eagerly to see what the Boston power-play unit will produce in Round 2.
It is best to start off by saying the Bruins’ third line is not being brought into question here since they’ve been excellent so far. When referring to depth, this is stating that the fourth line and bottom-four defensemen have done little to add to the scoresheet. No one is expecting these players to score goals every night, however, it is expected they add to the scoring here and there. The fourth line and bottom-four defensemen of the Bruins’ have amassed a total of four assists and no goals in five games played in the playoffs.
Although that doesn’t sound too bad, it is more concerning when you take into account that the Islanders are a defensive powerhouse that seems to always hold teams to few opportunities. The fourth line and bottom-two defensive pairings are going to have to start adding something to the scoresheet if the Bruins want to pull ahead of the Islanders. There is a tough opponent ahead – let’s hope the depth punches above their weight.
Take Away Shot Opportunities
In their last series, the Bruins kept the Capitals to under 30 shots in just one game of their five. There is no doubt that the Bruins can edge a team even if they get out-shot, as they did multiple times in the series, but there is a better chance of winning if they limit the shooting chances of the Islanders.
The Isles have all kinds of offensive threats heading into the series with names like Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, and Nick Leddy. All players named had 30 or more points, and should not be taken lightly. The Islanders play a tough defensive game that will require a lot of effort to overcome. Bruins’ fans should hope for a more well-rounded defensive game from Boston coming into this series.
The Bruins undoubtedly have what it takes to make it to the Stanley Cup Final. They have a winning mindset that is ingrained in the franchise from the 2010s. Everyone is excited to see how far this team that has so much talent can make it. If the Big B’s make these improvements and regroup correctly before the second round, they should be ready to face the Islanders. Game 1 of Round 2 takes place on Saturday night at 8:00 P.M. Eastern.