The 2014-15 chapter in the history of the Boston Bruins was one to forget.
A team that many expected to contend for another Stanley Cup saw themselves on the outside looking in come April 12th. The absence of postseason hockey in Boston cost Peter Chiarelli his job and has the future of head coach Claude Julien up in the air as the club searches for a new general manager.
Looking at the numbers, the Bruins were nothing more than an average hockey club this year. Even though they excelled in some areas of the ice, others left much to be desired. Here is a look at some of the notable statistics from the season.
53.6: Boston’s Faceoff Win Percentage
In a new era where possession statistics are the standard, the Bruins were kings inside the dot. As a team, they had the highest win percentage on faceoffs in the NHL this season. Ask anyone who specializes in the art of advanced statistics and they will tell you how important it is to win a faceoff, especially in the defensive zone.
Center Patrice Bergeron won over 60 percent of his draws this season while starting close to 53 percent of his five-on-five shifts in the defensive end. The 29-year-old also led the Bruins in points (55) this season, showing he is the true definition of the three-zone player.
Bergeron is a finalist for the Selke Trophy at the NHL Awards in June as one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards.
10: Times Brad Marchand Scored First Goal
Brad Marchand led the Bruins in goals this season with 24.
The pesky winger also showed his knack for recording his name on the scoresheet first. He scored the first goal in Bruins games 10 times on the year, tied for second in the league behind Hart Trophy finalist Alex Ovechkin (12). Marchand shared second place with 40-goal scorer Rick Nash and Art Ross Trophy winner Jamie Benn.
Not too shabby for the “Nose Face Killah” to be rubbing elbows with some of the NHL’s elite.
56: Third Period Goals
In recent years, the Bruins have been known to be a strong third-period hockey club. However, that was not the case this season.
Boston could only muster 56 goals in the third period, third-worst in the league behind the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes. It is a radical reversal of fortune after last season’s Bruins finished with the most third-period tallies in the NHL (104). The club on many nights could not generate enough offensive pressure or zone time to create grade A scoring opportunities.
When they did, Boston was guilty of not converting scoring chances into goals.
Penguins go up 2-0 in Buffalo. Enjoy the third period Bruins fans. It's the last of the season.
— Bruin Up A Cup (@BruinUpACup) April 12, 2015
The lack of late scoring especially hurt them on their season-ending three-game road trip where they scored only twice in the last 20 minutes. Considering they entered the third period of each game either tied or trailing, it is not surprising the Bruins picked up just one point out of a possible six, tumbling out of the playoffs.
19-19-8 Against Playoff Opponents
Boston played a total of 46 games this season against teams who qualified for the postseason. The record was emblematic of their season.
The Bruins were a pedestrian 19-19-8 against playoff-bound opponents. I would make the argument that how teams play against better competition will tell fans about the makeup of their team. In Boston’s case, the fact their record was not particularly impressive is a sign that the club was merely average.
The Bruins took care of business against non-playoff teams going 22-8-6, but could not measure up to more established opposition.
96: Boston’s Point Total
Bruins miss playoffs and set dubious record for highest point total by a non playoff team with 96 (break record of 06-07 Avs & 10-11 Stars)
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) April 12, 2015
The good news? Boston made NHL history this season.
The bad news? It is not one they will be proud of.
The Bruins became the first team in league history to accumulate 96 points and miss the playoffs. The 2006-07 Colorado Avalanche and 2010-11 Dallas Stars will be able to sleep a little easier now as they were the two teams that shared the previous record for the highest point total by a non-playoff team (95). A club that was projected by Vegas to rack up around 110 points and comfortably secure a playoff spot spent their season scrapping for a wild card berth.
This brings us to the most important number of all…
The Boston Bruins missed out on the playoffs by two points.
Those two points cost Jeremy Jacobs valuable playoff revenue at the Garden, Chiarelli his job, and the patience of many fans.
It will be up Boston’s retired number eight, team president Cam Neely, to make the decisions that will have the Bruins contending again as soon as next season.
Joe is a writer covering the Boston Bruins. He is a lifelong native of Massachusetts and is currently a content writer/manager for a newsletter at a Human Services Agency. Joe can be found on Twitter: @JoeCherryTHW