NASHVILLE — The decline has been steady for the Bruins’ power play this season. Boston began the season converting on more than 30 percent of its power plays, leading the league for the first half of the year. But the Bruins have slipped to fourth in the league at 22.1 percent.
The Bruins have scored just one power-play goal in their last nine games, and that came in a 9-2 loss to the Kings on Feb. 9.
Boston went 0 for 4 in Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Blue Jackets, a game in which the Bruins would have benefited from some man-advantage offense against a Columbus team ranked 19th in the league on the penalty kill.
“I’d like to see maybe a little less passing and a little bit more of a killer instinct,” coach Claude Julien said. “We want to get pucks to the net. I don’t want that puck to be moving around six times and then not get a shot. I think we need to be a little bit more assertive in that area.”
Julien said the team has had opportunities, but was not happy about the two shorthanded breakaways Columbus had on Tuesday.
Left wing Brad Marchand said he thinks opponents have been focusing on the Bruins’ power play.
“We’ve had such a hot power play, teams really bear down on it and focus and try to do the job against us,” he said. “I think the opportunities have been there. We just haven’t capitalized.”
With his overtime goal on Tuesday, Loui Eriksson reached the 20-goal mark for the sixth time in his career. He had 22 goals last season for the Bruins . . . The Bruins also became the first team in the league with three 20-goal scorers this season — Marchand (28), Patrice Bergeron (22), and Eriksson. “I have always liked that,” Julien said. “I would love to have a 50-goal scorer, don’t get me wrong. At the same time, when you spread your scoring like that, it’s a lot tougher for other teams to defend against.” . . . Marchand’s run of 13 goals in 13 games ended in Columbus, but he was more critical of his overall play. “It was pretty much like two games because that first one was only eight seconds in,” Marchand said of his goal on Sunday against Detroit. “I knew it wasn’t going to last forever. It was fun while it lasted. Now I want to get back to trying to prepare the same way. I didn’t have a very good game. Not only I didn’t score, but I didn’t play very well either. I have to bounce back and be better [on Thursday].” . . . Bergeron and Zdeno Chara both did not practice Wednesday. It was a maintenance day for Bergeron, who came back from injury on Tuesday, and Julien asked Chara to stay off the ice because of his minutes played.