Problem on Offense? Not for Well Balanced Bruins
A quick look at stats around the NHL Sunday morning reveals that while the Bruins may not have any “break out” players so to speak, their offensive attack is one of the more well balanced in the league, with their scoring being spread across the entire lineup.
Boston has eight players (Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Michael Ryder, Nathan Horton, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler) with ten or more goals on the season, a remarkable turnaround from this point last season.
The Bruins also have ten players with twenty or more points (Bergeron, Recchi, Krejci, Lucic, Ryder, Horton, Chara, Marchand, Seidenberg and Wheeler). Bergeron, Recchi, Krejci and Lucic all have more than thirty points on the season for the Bruins as well. Gregory Campbell (18 points) and Tyler Seguin (16 points) are also approaching the twenty point mark, with Campbell getting his points with limited ice time and Seguin still adjusting to the NHL game.
When one considers the fact that Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic are off the pace they started earlier this season and can be better, that David Krejci is not quite up to where he wants to be and that Horton is in the midst of a massive slump, the Bruins attack should only get better as the season goes on (barring injury).
When compared to the rest of the league, the Bruins are in favorable company.
The Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings also have eight players with 10+ goals and at least ten players with 20+ points (Detroit has eleven players with 20+ points).
The Pittsburgh Penguins have nine players with at least twenty points and the surprising yet struggling Atlanta Thrashers have seven players with 10+ goals and nine players with 20+ points.
The Bruins rank 8th in NHL with 61 points, 3rd in their conference, eight behind the league leading Flyers. Considering the Bruins have, at times, not played anywhere near their potential and have a tendency to either play down to the level of their opponents or take nights off, their point totals and offensive stats are all the more impressive. If the Bruins can play more consistently, as they have for the most part in January, they are one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
Boston currently sits tied for seventh place in the entire league with 150 goals scored, 19 behind the league leading Philadelphia Flyers.
The only downside, if one can call it that, is the the Bruins highest scorer, Patrice Bergeron, is tied for 41st in the league with 39 points. Milan Lucic is second on the Bruins with 32 points, which ranks him just 78th in the NHL. Boston’s leading goal scorer, Lucic, is tied for 17th in the league with 19 goals.
Patrice Bergeron’s game has picked up over the past month and could be returning to the form that saw him score 70+ points for the Bruins before his career was put on hold with a concussion. Rookie Brad Marchand has been dynamite the entire season but since being put on a line with Bergeron and Recchi, his offense has jumped up considerably. Rookie Steven Kampfer has helped produce more offense from the back end, his crisp passes and strong defensive plays leading to more odd man rushes and a better transition game.
What the Bruins have also shown recently is that they are comfortable playing in a close 2-1 game or trading end to end rushes like they did with the speedy Colorado Avalanche. Claude Julien’s defensive system can curtail offense at times, which again makes the Bruins offensive stats more impressive, but the Bruins just keep finding different ways to score.
Boston has a tendency to sit back when they have a lead in the third rather than attacking and trying to land a death blow but if what they showed against Colorado is any indication, they certainly have the ability to come out and stomp the life out of opponents when properly motivated.
While the Bruins do not have any players that are lighting up the league (outside of the net) they do have an incredibly well balanced attack, scoring goals and points up and down their lineup and could get even better. That type of balanced attack is generally found on teams that produce deep playoff runs. If the Bruins goaltending can stay strong and the Bruins skaters can harness their energy and stop taking nights off, this team could be very, very dangerous should they maintain their current pace and make the playoffs.