Bruins’ power play makes life difficult for opponents

ST. LOUIS — Patrice Bergeron wins the faceoff and Jake DeBrusk retrieves the puck for Torey Krug, who waits just long enough for Bergeron to set up and shoots it at his stick for a textbook deflection goal.

This is the Bruins’ masterful power play at its nearly unstoppable best.

Boston scored with precise efficiency on all four of its power-play chances in a 7-2 rout of St. Louis in Game 3 and is the biggest reason the Bruins lead the Stanley Cup Finals 2-1 going into Game 4 Monday night.

“It’s just the creativity and guys stepping into certain roles, certain spots, and we fill in for each other,” Krug said. “When we’re on and we’re in sync, we’re a really dangerous unit.”

Toronto, Columbus and Carolina already figured that out in the first three rounds, and St. Louis needs to develop a solution or this series will be over quicker than Krug can move the puck.

Boston’s playoff-best power play has converted on 35.9% of its opportunities and could be the first unit to finish over 30% in the postseason since the 1981 champion New York Islanders.

Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy is a power-play mastermind who can spot trends and flaws as well as any coach in the NHL. After the Bruins scored on two of their 10 power plays in Games 1 and 2, he noticed a hole in the Blues’ penalty kill, made some adjustments and, boom, Boston scored four power-play goals … on four shots.

Cassidy said his power play operates differently from a lot of other teams’ because it relies more on puck movement down low than a blast from the point.

St. Louis penalty killer Ryan O’Reilly noted the Bruins worked more from Krug at the point in Game 3 and it caught them off guard.

“I have to be better in the circle taking those faceoffs to not give them any easy opportunities,” O’Reilly said.

Stephen Whyno is an Associated Press writer.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Bruins-power-play-makes-life-difficult-for-13917912.php.

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