Zoning in on power play
End of practice spent fine-tuning
In the first period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Canucks, the Bruins had three sparkling opportunities to score first. Then again, those chances were on the power play, which has proven to be about as dependable as the mid-winter commuter rail.
So to nobody’s surprise, the Bruins concluded their practice — probably their final one of 2010-11, considering they likely will opt for rest tomorrow if they win tonight — with power-play work.
The Bruins are 3 for 21 on the power play (14.3 percent) in the Stanley Cup Final. They scored two of their man-advantage strikes in the 8-1 Game 3 rout at TD Garden. Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder scored the power-play goals that night.
Yesterday, Tomas Kaberle and Dennis Seidenberg were at the point on the first unit. David Krejci worked the left half-wall, Milan Lucic was the net-front presence, and Patrice Bergeron rotated between the left corner and the high slot.
On the second unit, Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference were on the blue line. Ryder and Tyler Seguin split time manning the left half-boards. Recchi and Rich Peverley were down low.
Gregory Campbell didn’t participate in any power-play drills. Coach Claude Julien gave Campbell an opportunity on the No. 2 unit in Game 5. Julien cited Campbell’s ability to tip pucks and how he helped Ryder score his power-play goal in Game 4.
“Our intention was to put [Campbell] in that position last game,’’ Julien said. “But when you don’t get set and the puck keeps going down the other end, you don’t see the usefulness of his role. So at one point, we moved guys around, hoping that somebody else could be the guy that could carry the puck in and have different looks. When one thing doesn’t work, you go to the next. Simple as that.’’
Reinforcement Part of yesterday’s practice was reinforcing good habits down low and in front of the net. During one drill, the forward rushed the puck over the offensive blue line and put a shot on goal. He then parked himself in front to tip pucks on net.
On another drill, the Bruins played three-on-three in the offensive zone. In all three of their losses at Rogers Arena, the Bruins believed they failed to get enough traffic in front of Roberto Luongo.
“We need to get to the front of the net and win battles,’’ Julien said. “It’s part of our game and part of their game as well. If you’re going to score goals, you have to win those battles and you have to put the pucks in the net and be there. I would say it was more maintenance. When you want to improve in certain areas, you bring that up to your practice. So it was meant for that reason.’’
Step too far? After Vancouver won Game 5 by a 1-0 score, the Canucks attempted to sell the broadcast rights to their yet-to-be-determined Stanley Cup parade, according to a league source. Naturally, that Vancouver will host a Cup parade has yet to be determined. The Canucks must win one of the next two games to win the Cup. The NHL shot down the Canucks’ plans because parade broadcast rights are not subject to sale . . . Peverley practiced on the first line with Lucic and Krejci. He most likely will start Game 6 on the No. 1 line. But Peverley and Ryder should both see time in Nathan Horton’s usual position on the right wing. Julien also could give Seguin occasional shifts with the first-liners like he did in Game 5 . . . Against Montreal in the first round and Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, the Bruins held 3-2 series leads but failed to complete the job in Game 6. Tonight, they’ll be on the other end for the first time in the postseason. “It’s two Games 7s,’’ Campbell said. “Obviously, this isn’t Game 7, but we have to treat it as a Game 7. When you play desperate, you play urgent, and you compete, that’s when you’re successful. That’s the approach we have to have going into [tonight].’’
Clean it up Clean breakouts will be vital tonight. The Canucks applied solid up-ice pressure on the Bruins in Game 5. When breakouts have been sloppy, the Bruins haven’t had good speed through center ice nor clean entries into the offensive zone . . . Jordan Caron practiced as the fourth forward on the No. 2 line. It was the first time Caron participated in a full practice during the series . . . All eyes will be near the Zamboni entrance after warm-ups and before puck drop tonight. Before every home game, a prominent alum has served as the honorary banner captain. Cam Neely did the honors before Game 3, and the Bruins pumped eight goals past Luongo. In Game 4, after Bobby Orr filled the position, the Bruins scored four goals in honor of No. 4. No truth to the rumor that Michael Nylander and Guillaume Lefebvre, owners of the highest digits (No. 92) worn in team history, were being shuttled to Boston to do the honors.