The Bruins have played more than half of their schedule so far this season and, despite currently sitting in second-place in the Atlantic, they still give off a pretty severe Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde vibe that makes one wonder if they’ll make the playoffs.
The Bruins have accrued 49 points in 45 yin-yang games while putting together a Tuukka Rask-aided 22-18-5 record. They have a losing record at home at 9-10 but are 13-8-5 on the road.
All too frequently, they turn in subpar efforts when they play subpar opponents and have squandered too many points in the process. Yet they’ll go up to their personal House of Horrors in Montreal to snag a win from the division leader. They’ve also handed the NHL-leading Columbus Blue Jackets a quarter of their eight losses.
So who, exactly, are the 2016-17 Boston Bruins?
They’re a decent, flawed team whose biggest current issue its inability to score timely goals. But thanks to their stellar netminder, they’re in the thick of the postseason hunt. Of the 16 teams currently in the playoffs, the Bruins have scored the third least (though only seven current playoff teams have given up fewer goals). Simply, it’s a real issue for the team.
Claude’s charges have only three double-digit goal scorers thus far; David Pastrnak’s 19 goals lead the team followed by Brad Marchand with 15 and David Backes with 11. The Bruins have not gotten nearly enough of the secondary scoring that NHL teams need if they plan on making some noise come springtime. But more alarmingly, they’re also lacking the primary scoring.
Patrice Bergeron, who has been better lately than earlier in the season, has only tallied eight goals (the same as free agent fourth liner signing Dominic Moore). David Krejci has nine. Ryan Spooner, who has ridden on Krejci’s left side quite a bit, has seven goals. Those guys need to produce more and quickly or the Bruins will find themselves falling out of the conference’s top eight.
But they’re hardly the only ones to blame. Jimmy Hayes, whose return home has been nothing short of a nightmare, has just two goals in 36 games and has been a healthy scratch lately. Riley Nash, though certainly not considered a sniper, has just two tallies in 45 games. Matt Beleskey was hardly lighting the world on fire before his injury and is also a member of the Two Goal Club (in 24 games).
With the trade deadline a month and a half away, you can be sure that you’ll hear the Bruins mentioned as being in on several players (with Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog the first prominent name to surface so far). Of course, you should believe almost nothing you read leading up March 1st but that’s another column for another day.
Regardless, if the Bruins plan to not only make the playoffs but actually make some noise for the first time in quite awhile, the front office needs to go out and get another top-six guy who can put the puck in the net. Because as currently constituted, the Bs look earmarked for a one and done if they do manage to get into the postseason dance.
And lack of playoff success is a story that’s getting old around here real quick.