One thing is clear: if the Bruins are going to make the playoffs this season, they are going to have to be nearly perfect in their eight remaining games. In the last two weeks, they have fallen out of the playoff picture, missed a chance to sweep the season series from one division rival for the first time ever, surrendered a half dozen goals to another division foe for the first time in almost a decade, got their first shutout in one Eastern city in nearly four decades and still have not scored a goal this year against one team they are chasing. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.
The Bruins have been bumped out of the playoffs, but Tuukka Rask has been far from the problem.
0: The Bruins shut out the Penguins, 2-0, on March 14 and then were shut out by the same score at the hands of the Capitals in their next game the following night. It marked the first time the B’s were involved in shutouts in consecutive games since Nov. 19 and 21, 2011 with 6-0 and 1-0 wins over the Islanders and Canadiens. It was also the first time they won a game via a shutout and then lost their next via a shutout since March 24 and 26, 2010 against the Canadiens and Rangers.
1.35: Ottawa’s Andrew Hammond came into last Thursday’s win over the B’s with a 1.35 goals-against average in 12 starts before surrendering four to Boston.
Unlike in seasons past, the Bruins have led fans on an up-and-down ride so far in 2014-15. Just when they are able to string a couple of strong wins against quality teams together, it seems they are followed with a shootout defeat and then a 6-2 loss. As the calendar turns to 2015, the Black and Gold will certainly need to find that element of consistency that has been eluding them this season, but for now, let’s take a look at the numbers from the last couple of weeks. They include a season high in shots on goal, a look at the goal output with and without one of the team’s best players, a first for one Boston defenseman and everybody on the ice getting into the act against Detroit. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.
The Bruins are glad 2014 is over and know they need to battle to make up ground.
0: The fourth line of Matt Fraser, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille combined for zero shots on goal on Dec. 21 against Buffalo. They were the only Boston forwards to be held without a shot on net.
1: Matt Bartkowski picked up his first career fighting major on Dec. 21 in the 4-3 overtime win over the Sabres as he dropped the gloves with Buffalo’s Marcus Foligno after No. 43 laid a questionable hit on Brian Gionta for which he was given a game misconduct.
1: The Bruins are now 1-0-0 in Sunday games this season after their win over Buffalo.
Since losing Zdeno Chara a little over two weeks ago, the Bruins have collectively stepped up and gone 5-1-0 without their captain in the lineup. Guys like Dougie Hamilton and Brad Marchand have really started to take off and despite all of the injuries on the blue line, Boston now sits just one point behind the Canadiens. Here is a closer look at some of the statistics, which includes a look at just how hot Marchand has been, a first for one former Bruin and the continuing domination of the Black and Gold against one rival netminder. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.
Brad Marchand has been a big part of the Bruins’ success in the last couple of weeks.
0: The Bruins did not have a power play against the Panthers on Tuesday. It was the first time since March 17 of last season that they did not have a power-play opportunity.
1: Shawn Thornton played in his first ever game as a visitor at TD Garden on Tuesday night. It was also the first time he had ever played against the Bruins.
1: Zach Trotman picked up his first career point with an assist on Seth Griffith’s goal in the first period of the Oct. 28 game against the Wild.
1:28: Matt Fraser scored two goals in 1:28 in the second period against the Senators last Saturday to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
It has not been the prettiest of starts for the Boston Bruins in 2014-15 as they look to rebound from their early playoff exit last spring. With a fair share of injuries in the first two weeks, the B’s have struggled through their first nine games, but have shown signs of improvement after putting up a dismal four goals in their first four. Some of their most reliable offensive weapons have gotten off to slow starts and a lot of guys have had to learn to play with new linemates. Here is a deeper look at how Boston has fared statistically through the first two weeks of the season with some interesting nuggets on player, team and opponent stats.
Boston’s Carl Soderberg falls to the ice in an early-season shutout loss to the Washington Capitals.
0: The 4-0 loss to the Capitals on Oct. 11 was Boston’s worst shutout loss since falling, 6-0, to the Sabres on Feb. 8, 2012.
0.4: Danny Briere’s goal with 0.4 seconds left on the clock gave the Avalanche a 2-1 win over the B’s on Oct. 13.
1: Bobby Robins picked up a fighting major in the second period of his first career NHL game on Opening Night – nine days shy of his 33rd birthday. He took on Luke Schenn of the Flyers.
The departures of Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton in the offseason, and the injury to Gregory Campbell to start the year; left room open for a few young Bruins’ prospects to grab a hold of an NHL job.
Guys like Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Bobby Robins (technically not a youngster), Alex Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith, Justin Florek, Craig Cunningham, and Matt Lindblad all had the chance to battle for a spot and run with it.
Let’s run through how each of them faired with the opportunity. I should warn you, it’s depressing.
Let’s start with Bobby Robins; Robins won a job out of training camp after he showed tremendous heart and determination. I have never really thought much of him as a player, but even I couldn’t deny that he had earned himself a spot.
Robins rewarded his own efforts with three scoreless games and 14 penalty minutes, including two spirited bouts, and a kneeing penalty against the Washington Capitals, which all but killed any chances of the team winning that game. If a star takes a penalty, it can be easier to swallow given their status and contributions to the team. If a role player like Robins takes a bad penalty, it hits twice as hard given their lack of contributions to the team. Robbins is currently on waivers for designation to Providence.
To be fair; it really isn’t all his fault. The game has passed players like him by. The goon age is at an end.
Today marks the beginning of the Boston Bruins’ 2014-15 season. The offseason hasn’t necessarily been filled with a ton of moves, but training camp has had plenty of activity which will impact this season.
The biggest move came just days ago in the form a trade. Johnny Boychuk was shipped to the New York Islanders in exchange for two second round draft picks and a conditional third. This trade has been met with a bunch of criticism, but Peter Chiarelli didn’t really have a choice. He got a great return from a player who he simply would have lost at the end of the season.
It is easy to say that he could have gotten rid of Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid, or Gregory Campbell, but he would have a very difficulty time moving any of those guys for a variety of reasons. Whether it be cap hit, no movement clause, injury history, or something else; the Bruins’ brass didn’t really have much a choice other than Boychuk. Most team’s probably didn’t want anything to do with those other guys.
So where does this move leave the rest of the team’s defense going into the season? Well… for starters it makes the D a little weaker. I don’t think they are going to crash and burn by any means, but losing a warrior like Boychuk does hurt.