All season long, the Boston Bruins’ top line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand got all the headlines when it came to scoring goals. Pastrnak finished tied with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for the Rocket Richard Award with 48 goals and Marchand (28 goals) was fifth in the league with 59 assists. Bergeron chipped in with 31 goals and 25 assists as the center on the line.
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While the Bruins’ top line has carried them in production, the team will need to find consistent secondary scoring when the NHL returns to play at the end of July. They have struggled at times during the 2019-20 season in this area, but they have players that have playoff experience and have the ability to add scoring to one of the league’s most talented teams. Two of the players that are capable of supplying the club with scoring are second and third line players.
Despite some inconsistent play at times this year, Jake DeBrusk has found a home as the second-line left wing. In 68 games, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft had 19 goals and 16 assists and was on his way to a second consecutive 20-goal season before the league pause. He did spend some time in coach Bruce Cassidy’s doghouse this year, but that did not stop the Bruins boss from keeping him off of the first power-play unit.
This will be the third postseason for DeBrusk in a Bruins uniform. During the 2017-18 playoffs, he had six goals and two assists in 12 games. Last season during the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Final, he had four goals and seven assists in 24 games. Playing alongside David Krejci and newly acquired Ondrej Kase, DeBrusk has 7 of his 19 goals against teams that will be part of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
He has goals against the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning, two of the three Bruins intra-conference round-robin opponents they will play before their first best-of-seven playoff series. A restricted free agent following the season, DeBrusk has a chance to be a secondary scorer in the playoffs and the Bruins hope the third postseason will be the charm.
At the trade deadline in 2019, Sweeney traded Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild for Charlie Coyle. The trade was one that was not thought of as moving the needle in terms of the playoffs at the time of the deal. In 21 regular-season games in Boston, it sure looked like that as Coyle tallied just two goals and four assists. The postseason, however, was a different story.
Coyle was one of four Bruins players who had a team-leading nine goals in the playoffs. Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergeron were the others. Coyle added seven assists in 24 games. This season, he has become one of the more durable and dependable Bruins’ players. He is one of three players to play in all 70 games and is fifth on the team in scoring with 16 goals. His best position for the team is centering the third line, but he did spell some minutes this season before the trade for Kase as a second-line right wing.
Seeing some time on the Bruins second power-play unit, Coyle has been one the better penalty killers this season as well. He leads the team with two shorthanded goals. Boston signed the 29-year-old to a six-year contract extension in November with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million. After a breakout 2019 playoff with nine goals, the Bruins could use that production again this year and then some.
Secondary Scoring Vital
Secondary scoring is very important to a team’s playoff run. After the Bruins top line, DeBrusk and Coyle are two players that have the ability to add more scoring depth to a team that is ready to win now. If the Bruins are to make a run for a Stanley Cup championship, these two guys are just as good of options as anyone else on the team to add more scoring.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.