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Previewing the Stanley Cup finals

Bruins must improve on the power play if they want to hoist the Cup

Originally Published: June 1, 2011
By Jonathan Willis | Hockey Prospectus

After three rounds of phenomenal hockey, the Stanley Cup finals are here at last. In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins have gone right to the wire or rolled over their opponent easily: Philadelphia fell in four games, but in the first round, Montreal forced seven games, as did Tampa Bay in the conference finals.

Out West, the Vancouver Canucks came within a goal of blowing a three-games-to-none series lead against old nemesis Chicago, but after that scare, they dismissed quality teams from Nashville and San Jose with ease.

Which team will come out on top? In what should be a tight series, we can pinpoint factors likely to sway the result one way or the other. With that in mind, what follows are three things that both the Bruins and Canucks should do to bring home the Cup.

Three things the Bruins need to do to win

Fix the power play
Since the NHL lockout, 12 teams have appeared in the Stanley Cup finals (including Boston and Vancouver this year). Of those 12 teams, the Bruins' 8.2 percent success rate on the power play is far and away the lowest -- the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks are next, with a 15.2 conversion rate. The typical finalist during that span has scored on more than 20.0 percent of its power plays.

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