The Boston Bruins have started the season on a somewhat inconsistent note. Despite starting off the season with three straight losses, the team has picked up its game, and has won four of their last five games since then. However, their only loss over that span – a 5-4 overtime loss to Philadelphia, came after blowing a 4-2 lead midway through the third period.
Over the course of their first eight games, the Bruins have had flashes of brilliance, as well as despair. So, here’s a couple of tidbits that you may find interesting – some positive, and some negative – about the Bruins first 8 games:
32.1 is a number that the Bruins are extremely happy with as they head towards the end of October. That number is, of course, their powerplay percentage. The Bruins currently lead the league in powerplay percentage, as well as powerplay goals (9), despite ranking 17th in the league for powerplay opportunities. For a team that hasn’t had tremendous success on the powerplay in years past, this is an especially satisfying couple of numbers for the Bruins.
Bruins on the power play. My fancy stats tell me this means they are guaranteed to score.
— Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin) October 27, 2015
While Boston’s powerplay has been especially fantastic, their penalty kill, which was the pride of the team several seasons ago, has been rather pedestrian for a “defense-first” Claude Julien team. The Bruins sit at 27th in penalty kill percentage, at 72.0%, having allowed 9 powerplay goals so far this season.
However, the Bruins have also struck back on the penalty kill, and are one of only five teams to have two shorthanded goals so far
Part of Boston’s penalty-killing struggles have to do with the team’s goaltending, particularly that of Tuukka Rask, who has been Boston’s trusty backstop for years. However, Rask has had an especially pedestrian start to his 2015-16 campaign, and currently has .874 save percentage. While some of this has been due to Boston’s inconsistent defensive play, there’s certainly a part of Rask’s game that hasn’t quite been up to snuff.
However, Rask has showed signs of improvement of late, and tallied a 24-save shutout in Tuesday’s 6-0 victory over Arizona.
And while backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been pretty well accepted by Bruins fans so far, it’s worth noting that he only has a .896 save percentage as well, meaning that neither of Boston’s goaltender are above the .900 plateau as of now.
There’s no doubting that the Boston Bruins missed David Krejci tremendously last season when he was limited to just 47 games last season due to injury. However, #46 has made his presence well-known so far this season, which brings us to our stat: 7, the number of goals, as well as the number of assists that David Krejci has through eight games.
With fourteen points in eight games, David Krejci sits at 2nd in the NHL in points, behind only Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars, who has an extra game played.
Meanwhile, Krejci’s 31.8% shooting percentage has him sitting comfortably at 15th in the league for that statistic. If Krejci keeps these numbers up, he’d be a very viable candidate for the Art Ross Trophy.
Meanwhile, the number 7 also represents the number of assists that defenseman Torey Krug has so far this season. As Boston tries to become a stronger offensive team, they’ll need help from the point, and Krug is just the defenseman to take care of that.
The Bruins return to action on Friday when they take on the Florida Panthers, who, I might add, have taken the most minor penalties in the league (with 46)… Looks like the powerplay may be back to work.
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!