Numbers don't add up for Bruins

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:32 PM ET

VANCOUVER - As much as the Boston Bruins might like them to, the numbers don't lie.

The reality is that the winner of the opening game of a Stanley Cup final goes on to capture the championship more than 77% of the time.

In other words, the Bruins have their work cut out after losing 1-0 Wednesday in Game 1 of the final against the Vancouver Canucks.

Here are five key issues the Bruins must address if they want to win Game 2 Saturday to tie the series.

1. Does anyone here know how to score?

During their past 120 minutes of hockey, the Bruins have scored exactly once. Not actually the recipe of success if you want to win a Cup. It's not like they didn't have chances Wednesday, peppering Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo with 36 shots. But missing open nets, as Mark Recchi did, simply can't happen. Attention David Krejci, Michael Ryder, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic: Time to step up.

2. Find a way to fix a power play that sucks

Yes, the Canucks are outstanding on the penalty kill, one that ranked third during the NHL season. But that doesn't excuse the bumbling Bruins power play, which has gone 5-for-67 including 0-for-6 in Game 1. Putting towering Zdeno Chara in Luongo's face is a good idea, but the other four players on the power play are too stationary. It's imperative they move into open spaces.

3. Play the kid more, Claude

Claude Julien is one of the best and most underrated coaches in the league. One of the knocks on him, however, is his reluctance to play youngsters. The stats sheet shows gifted rookie Tyler Seguin saw less than seven minutes of ice time in Game 1. If the team can't score and the power play is horrible, why not play him more?

4. Avoid the Sin Bin Blues

In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final, the Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning combined for zero penalties. That was then. This is now. In Game 1 of the final, the Bruins took six minors, thereby earning the right to go to the penalty box and get mocked by one of the Green Men. The Canucks didn't score with a man-advantage in the opener but that's likely to change, given they had the top-ranked power play during the season.

5. Protect your goalie

Tim Thomas was knocked over so many times in Game 1 he resembled a bowling pin. Even the Sedin twins were getting up close and personal with the Bruins goalie, a sight you don't see much. Most of the incidents stemmed from Boston players driving Vancouver forwards into Thomas. The Bruins goalie often is vulnerable because he plays outside his crease, but that means his defence has to try that much harder to protect him.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/zeisberger


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