Jim Montgomery looking for shot mentality in power play

With the playoffs in sight, the Bruins went into Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators with more points than any other team in the league. Not the worst place to be.

But the B’s are not exactly clicking in every area of their game, and one place they can improve upon is on the power play. It hasn’t been horrible,, mind you. They’re ranked ninth in the NHL and the first PP unit scored in the B’s 6-5 win over Philadelphia last Saturday. They’re 5-for-21 in their last seven games.

Yet it hasn’t been quite the weapon it could be. Coach Jim Montgomery would like to see, among other things, more pucks at the net — or at least that mentality.

“Lately I’ve liked the effort. I think we’ve come up with a lot of loose pucks. I would still like us to find bumper on retrievals more often and I would like to see more convergence and shot-first attitude from everyone,” said Montgomery. “I’m not saying they have to shoot but they should look. It looks like right now, (Brad Marchand) gets the puck, he’s looking to pass. He moves it up to Charlie (McAvoy) and Charlie’s looking for his next pass instead of ‘Can we score?’ I want a little more of ‘can we score?’ attitude.”

The latest look that the B’s have shown on the first unit is to have both centers Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle in the bumper and at the net-front, giving them two centerman who can take faceoffs on their strong sides. In the win over Philly, it worked well on the goal, with Zacha winning the draw on the left side over to Marchand, who in turn sent it pack to the left side for Coyle and a tap-in.

But the goals from the elbows have been harder to come by. Going into Tuesday, Marchand had not scored on the power play in 27 games (he’s had some mishits on one-timers and he’s also been robbed a few times during that stretch). As for Pastrnak, he’s drawing the attention that a guy who scored 61 goals last year would get, and there’s also the fact that the PP is also configured differently with the left shot Zacha in the bumper.

Pastrnak believes they can and will be better. While Montgomery is looking for more of shot-first mindset

“On the power play, I’m pretty hard so there’s not much good lately except the goal last game. But we keep each other to high standards, especially when we go over the boards. We want to at least create momentum for the team or score a goal,” said Pastrnak, who leads the B’s with 12 PP goals.

“Usually we turn it around always after tough stretches. I think we know the recipe. We have to be more patient. We’re looking for the A look right away instead of possessing it and recover the puck and that’s when the holes open up. We know the recipe we just need a couple of goals to get going and it’s going to turn around soon.”

Teams have long been trying to take away Pastrnak’s one-timer. Last season he started to incorporate taking a step or two to the inside to avoid the shot-blocker and slip home a wrist shot.

“Definitely, I haven’t been getting as many one-timers as usual but that’s also because we have Pav who’s a lefty on the bumper so it’s playing more on that side so I’m a little lower than usual because of the bumper,” said Pastrnak. “It’s a couple different looks. We’ve been practicing it and looked much better (in Monday’s practice). Hopefully we can translate it to the game and bury a couple of goals and get the PP going.”…

As expected, the third pair for Tuesday’s game against the Senators consisted of two right-shot D-men, Kevin Shattenkirk and Andrew Peeke. Shattenkirk had skated on the left side in Monday’s practice and Montgomery said part of the idea was to see how certain players performed on their right side.

But if this seemed at all like an experiment, Montgomery said that he was doing more than just tinkering or just keeping guys fresh.

“Experimenting is experimenting to try and find the people that are going to deserve to start Game 1 in the playoffs. It’s not so much to see this guy with that guy. It’s we’re trying to find the lineup that’s going to give us the best success. The experimenting is trying to find that lineup,” said Montgomery. “And again, I can’t say it enough. If you play well, you’re staying in the lineup. It’s the same way we operate in the playoffs. We’re trying to get that mentality now that there’s more urgency when you get that opportunity to get in the lineup or there’s more urgency to stay in the lineup.”

Shattenkirk was expected to man the second PP unit instead of Hampus Lindholm.

“I told Lindy about a week ago and I told him again (Monday) that I know he can run the power play but his focus right now that I want is for him to be the shutdown guy and first PK guy out with (Brandon Carlo). It’s just owning and relishing your role. I know he can do the power play. He’s proven it since he’s been here,” said Montgomery….

John Beecher has taken over the faceoff duty for the fourth line even though Jesper Boqvist, who’d been struggling on the draws, remains the center because of ability of skating with the puck in the middle of the ice. Boqvist said the switch-off doesn’t adversely affect him, but he would like to be that guy who can be relied upon.

“I want be that guy, too, who can take the draws. It’s something I have to work on and I do. Hopefully I can be there one day,” said Boqvist.




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