The Boston Bruins won’t ever be thought-about something near a dynasty. It’s in all probability sobering for Bruins followers how shut they’re to being one, if something can truly be sobering for Bruins followers. Had Zdeno Chara hit the opposite aspect of the publish in Recreation 1 in opposition to the Hawks in 2013, and if Brad Marchand had possibly bothered to indicate up for the 2019 Last, possibly they’d have the identical three Cups over eight seasons that the Penguins or Hawks might boast. That’s how shut these items are in hockey.
Whereas they received’t elevate a banner for it (they aren’t the Predators in spite of everything), and followers received’t hoist beers in honor of it, there was no crew within the NHL with an extended monitor file of normal season excellence than the Bs. The final time they didn’t play at the very least at a 90+ level tempo was 2007. They’ve missed the playoffs twice in that stretch, however in these seasons they compiled 93 and 96 factors. It’s nonetheless arduous for hockey followers and hockey observers to return to phrases with the truth that good groups miss the playoffs now, as the game remains to be form of lodged within the period the place 16 of 21 groups made it. The Bruins then have been hardly unhealthy. They’ve performed at a 100+ level tempo the 5 seasons after these misses (there have been two abbreviated seasons in that point). The Bruins are simply at all times there.
It felt like this was speculated to be the season the place the tip would on the very least knock on the door and peek into the window to see if anybody was house. Each Charlie McAvoy, the crew’s greatest defenseman, and Brad Marchand, a top-line winger, have been speculated to be out for months. It wasn’t clear that Patrice Bergeron would return. They fired their coach after their first spherical exit. The crew appeared a bit of determined whereas making an attempt to coax David Krejčí again from semi-retirement in Europe after he had left the earlier summer time.
The Bruins have one of the best file in hockey, 9-1-0. They capped that off final evening by overcoming a three-goal deficit on the street in Pittsburgh to kneecap the Penguins, 6-5, in OT. They bought targets from six totally different guys to do it, whereas Hampus Lindholm piled up 4 factors (1G, 3A). And Marchand returned two months sooner than anticipated. So he’s again to bother the piss out of everybody.
Lindholm has been the real story for Boston, a deadline pickup last year that has stepped into the top pairing role while McAvoy recovers from offseason surgery. Lindholm has always been a nifty puck-mover but plied his trade out of sight and out of mind in Anaheim for his entire career. But new coach Jim Montgomery’s system, which prioritizes getting up the ice shortly and turning protection into offense as shortly as potential, has seemingly hit Lindholm proper between the eyes. There are few D-men within the league you’d fairly have retrieving free puck and whipping a move out of the zone to a streaking ahead.
Matt Grzelcyk, who has been a sneaky good transition D-man doing a little bum-slaying on the underside pairing for the Bs for some time now, is one other who’s gobbling up Montgomery’s system tweaks. Each have additionally seen a soar within the quantity of fine probabilities the Bs get with them on the ice (rise in xG/60 for each) because of Montgomery’s choice for eschewing blind and hopeful level pictures in favor of a d-man holding on and making an attempt to get both himself or the puck into a greater space. When McAvoy returns, the Bs could have somebody to get them up the ice shortly on each pairing. Via these charts, you may actually see how Montgomery stresses getting the puck into higher areas to shoot fairly than simply fireplace on the first alternative like his predecessor Bruce Cassidy most well-liked.
The offensive load up entrance has been carried by David Pastrnak, who has as soon as once more executed it whereas taking part in away from Bergeron. Principally he’s been re-paired with Krejci, till the latter’s latest harm, and he’s 18 factors (7G, 11A) in simply 12 video games. Bergeron, as he was final 12 months and more and more all through his profession, has been used merely as an offensive power, beginning practically two-thirds of his shifts within the offensive zone. It’s Charlie Coyle’s line that has taken the dungeon shifts to liberate everybody else.
What hasn’t modified is the defensive blanket the Bruins have at all times been, underneath three totally different coaches now. They’re sixth in makes an attempt in opposition to and fifth in anticipated targets in opposition to. The true shock has been Linus Ullmark’s .932 save-percentage in web, alongside together with his 4.8 targets saved above anticipated already this season (he put up 5.2 in 41 begins final 12 months). Whereas the Bruins have suppressed probabilities and makes an attempt of their regular style, they’ve given up extra from the prime areas than they’d like (2021-22 for comparability).
Whether or not Ullmark can preserve this up is a query, although a rebound from Jeremy Swayman who has been woeful thus far this season after a promising rookie 12 months would assist steadiness that out.
The Atlantic doesn’t permit for anybody to take a breath, however the Bruins are proper the place they at all times are. It was ever thus.