Wednesday's Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals featured some incredible defensive hockey from both sides. Unfortunately for Boston, it could not find any sort of offense to compliment its defensive prowess as Vancouver held on for a 1-0 win thanks to Raffi Torres' late-game heroics and grabbed a 1-0 series lead. It did not have to be that way for the Bruins, however, as they missed on six power play opportunities throughout the game.
To say the Bruins' power play during the postseason has been anemic is an understatement (in fact, saying that it needs to be quarantined might do it justice). Boston is now just 5-for-67 on the power play in the playoffs (7.5 percent), a steep decline from 16.2 percent during the regular season. Not only that, but the Bruins have just one power play goal on the road this postseason.
The Bruins spent a total of 8:07 on the power play during the game, including a 5-on-3 for 1:32 that saw several good chances, but no goals to show for them. Yet, the Bruins should look to their first power play of the game, one that lasted 4:00 after Daniel Sedin caught Zdeno Chara with a high stick, for inspiration on how to fix their "man-disadvantage."
Via ESPN's John Buccigross, the 6-foot-9 Chara spent 1:30 of the four-minute power play in the crease as the Bruins attempted to screen Roberto Luongo. On that power play, the Bruins put five shots on goal with Chara in front, including a deflection chance from Chara that Luongo was able to stop . Yet, according to Buccigross, Chara spent just five seconds in front of Luongo on Boston's last four power plays and it only got one total shot on goal in those five seconds.
The Bruins have the luxury of having the NHL's tallest player on their roster and putting him in front of goalies who obviously cannot see over him is something that should be taken advantage of.
The video above perfectly illustrates what the Bruins must do. Dennis Seidenberg fires the puck from the right faceoff circle and Chara is in front, making Luongo work harder for the save. Having Chara in the crease gives him a chance for a possible deflection or rebound if Luongo cannot control the puck.
Chara is six inches taller than Luongo, a tall order for the goaltender to compete with (no pun intended). The Bruins' best chances were with Chara in front and if they plan on rattling Luongo, that is the best possible option.