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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Who Owns the Panthers Power Play? The Bruins



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When talking about his team’s power play on Monday, Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice used a line from Paul Newman’s Reg Dunlop character in the hockey classic Slap Shot.

FORT LAUDERDALE — When asked about his team’s power play struggles against the Boston Bruins this season on Monday night, Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice channeled his inner Reg Dunlop.

As the player-coach of the Charlestown Chiefs said in Slap Shot when grilled in by a fan in a bar about his team’s power play, Maurice responded “we’re working on it.’’

Dunlop and the Chiefs certainly got their power play rolling in their run to the Federal League championship, and, the Panthers have to hope theirs gets going against the Bruins as well.

In five games against Boston this season, the Panthers have yet to score a power play goal.

In Monday’s 5-1 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Florida went 0-for-3 with the man advantage; the Panthers are 0-14 against the Bruins this year.

As Maurice pointed out, all things are not equal in those five games.

Florida, for instance, had key pieces of its top power-play unit missing in games against the Bruins this season — including Sam Bennett on Monday, who is a key piece of Florida’s second power-play unit.

Brandon Montour and Sasha Barkov also missed time against the Bruins during the regular season.

But Monday?

“I was going to say I don’t run the power play, but we didn’t score, so I guess I only run it when it’s broken. But I do not think it is broken,’’ Maurice said, deferring any blame to assistant coach Jamie Kompon.

“If Matthew cracks the empty net he had, you’re alright. It was similar to our 5-on-5 play; it was a little slow.”

The Panthers are not the first power play to struggle against the Bruins.

In eight playoff games against Toronto and Florida, Boston has given up just one goal in 24 shorthanded chances for a 96 percent success rate.

Only Edmonton (12-for-12 in the first round against Los Angeles) has been better. Boston, by simple math, has had twice as many chances on the kill than the Oilers have.

Boston’s goaltending combo of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark lead the NHL this postseason by allowing an average of 1.63 goals per game.

The Bruins have outscored the Leafs and Panthers 23-13.

It’s not just the Panthers.

“They are obviously solid and that is a strength of theirs,’’ Sam Reinhart said of the Boston penalty kill. “I think we need to be a little more assertive, work a little quicker. We don’t need to look for the perfect play all the time. The more you can create around the net, the more plays will work for us.’’

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