Boston Offense Getting Help
By Marisa Ingemi
Of the Bruins 121 goals this season, 43.8 percent have come from their top trio. The strength of the Bruins first line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak has been well-documented, but some secondary scoring is starting to emerge of late.
It’s not everywhere in the lineup, or even where the Bruins want it to be at yet. But, there’s some progress, which should be expected from a healthy group.
“I think we’re getting production from the whole group right now,” said Marchand. “It’s great when you look at our fourth line, they’ve been our best line for us the past few weeks. When you have that throughout the whole lineup, it makes us tough to play against.”
The Bruins most recent four-game stretch, their second winning streak of that length this season, has come with a boost from their “bottom” three lines.
Of the Bruins 15 goals over the past four games, nine have come from players not named Marchand, Bergeron, or Pastrnak.
“You need those players scoring to win games in this league,” said Jake DeBrusk. “These guys have done a great job here, we’ve been working for a while. Pucks haven’t been bouncing a lot of guy’s ways, now it’s just a matter of it’s their turn. It’s nice to see guys capitalizing on chances.”
Of the Bruins top 10 scorers, three are defensemen, including Charlie McAvoy, who has played just 17 games. Only 11 players have double digit points, and just four have double digit goals.
They’re getting key goals from different places, with Sean Kuraly netting two game-winners over their most recent stretch, and Jake DeBrusk finding his scoring touch after missing some time with injury.
Others, like Ryan Donato and Danton Heinen, are still trying to find their offensive prowess. Heinen, who has seen his ice time decrease more and more, has just two shots on goal combined over the win streak. Donato showed some of his flash with two goals in Carolina five games ago, but he hasn’t been able to bury one since.
That inconsistent scoring from younger players is less of a blow to the overall offense if they’re just finding ways to win games, and for a while, that meant relying on defense and goaltending.
That part of their game is still there -- they’ve allowed the third fewest goals against in the NHL this year.
Scoring is steadily rising though, now at 18th in the league, and far better than the bottom-five teams they were mired in for a while during a stretch where it seemed half the team was sidelined. It might not be sustainable to expect Kuraly and Chris Wagner (one goal and one called back on Saturday night) to carry the offensive load for the rest of the season, but those contributions from unexpected -- or forgotten -- places might see them through until other guys come around.
“Having essentially our whole team back, we’re finally able to get a good look at our group,” said Marchand. “We’ve always had that depth. With guys out consistently, it’s been tough to keep it steady. It’s great to have everyone back now and we’re just kind of rolling from that.”