( Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty / USA TODAY Sports )

By: Kevin Perry | Follow Me on Twitter @Kevperry_

As the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers get an extra day off today with game five looming over both teams’ heads, it is no surprise how this series has played out so far. Both teams have carried the play at times and had the chances, but the Bruins had seemed to weather the storm better when the play was concentrated down on their end as opposed to Florida, primarily on special teams.

The Bruins are 4/14 (28.5%) on the power play in the series but have only allowed one goal on 11 penalty kills in the series, which Florida’s Sam Bennett scored late in game 4. Outside goaltending, the special teams have been a launching pad for the Bruins’ control of these games.

Bruins Power Play Net Front Presence Has Been Key To Success

The Bruins have scored on the power play each game outside of game three, and the big reason for their success has been their ability to control their net-front presence. Going back to game one, David Pastrnak was able to score on a backdoor tap-in set up by Tyler Bertuzzi after Bertuzzi was able to collect a rebound chance off of a David Krejci one-timer. In game two, Bertuzzi scored on a net-front deflection that tied the game up at the time of a Pavel Zacha one-timer.

In game four, Boston could take a 2-0 lead after two. They were able to capitalize on two of their three power plays up to that point. Both Marchand and Debrusk scored at most a combined three feet away from the goal. Both goals resulted from driving the net and not giving up your space but earning your space when going to the crease.

Puck and player movements have given Florida issues, which hopefully will continue Wednesday night. It’s nice to think every power play will end up with David Pastrnak ripping one in over the goalie’s shoulder, but only sometimes do you see that in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Although another critical aspect of the Bruins’ power play success has been their ability to draw the Panthers forwards out up top to allow for the Bruins forwards down low to attack, which is what we saw on Pastrnak’s goal in game one.

Bruins Penalty Kill Starts From The Net Out

On the other side of the special teams’ coin, the Bruins’ penalty kill has been stellar through four games. It’s no accident when you lead the league in penalty kill in the regular season, and the Bruins have not missed a beat in round one. It helps tremendously to have the likely Vezina Trophy goaltender in the net with Linus Ullmark, but also, the Bruins have allowed him to see the shooters clearly.

Linus Ullmark’s ability to calm things down in the defensive zone, especially on the penalty kill, helps the rest of the team play a little less tensely, which is why the Bruins have dominated all year on the kill. Having selfless defensemen also helps a ton in blocking shots or even pressuring the shooter, so they are forced to change the angle of their shot.

Derek Forbort and Brandon Carlo are not guys who will be on the stat sheet every game, but their ability to use their size and their sticks on the penalty kill is valuable at a team’s disposal. Both rank in the top six in shorthanded time on ice. These numbers may be inflated because the Bruins are the most penalized team through four games, but regardless these two have been paramount in the penalty kill success.

Dmitry Orlov and Charlie McAvoy have been vital contributors on both sides of the puck. Dmitry Orlov is leading the Boston Bruins with five assists while playing 2:21 on average shorthanded. Charlie McAvoy leads all players in the playoffs in hits with 25 and has only recorded an assist on Brad Marchand’s goal in game one. Still, regardless of the point production, Charlie McAvoy’s ability to lead this defense has been vital to the Boston Bruin’s success not just in this series but all year in all situations.

Upfront even without their captain and arguably the greatest defensive center in hockey in Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins forwards have done a phenomenal job in forcing Florida’s point men up top in the zone and winning battles to get pucks out. Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, and Tomas Nosek have led the way for the Boston Bruins penalty-killing forwards in ice time and have been the top penalty-killing forwards all series. Hopefully, a Bergeron return could happen this week, but if not, they can handle this Florida Panthers team upfront on the penalty kill.