At long last, the Bruins are finally through round-robin play up in Toronto — with the No. 4 B’s set to take on the No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 1 is set for Tuesday night at 8 p.m. As we begin our deep dive at the B’s next opponent in Carolina, let’s take a quick look at some telling numbers for key players over the Bruins’ three-game stretch of round-robin play — and what they reveal about the current state of this club going into true postseason play.
64.52: The Bergeron Line’s 5v5 shot share through five games
Surprise, surprise if you've heard this on this site before (especially over the past week) — but the Bruins' top line was actually quite dominant during round-robin play when it came to puck-possession metrics and generating quality looks in the offensive zone. Yes, the rust formed during a months-long pause did lead to an uptick in errant feeds and needless giveaways, but the Bergeron line still managed to tilt the ice significantly in Boston's favor during their three games against the Flyers, Lightning and Capitals.
In the 27:54 of 5v5 ice time that the 63-37-88 line skated together, the Bruins led opponents in shot attempts (40-22), shots on goal (18-10), scoring chances (19-9) and high-danger scoring chances (8-2).
Sunday's loss to Washington might have been the most encouraging showing to date, with the trio much more active on the forecheck and connecting on more of the passes that we've become accustomed to. In total, Boston held an absurd 21-4 edge in shot attempts against the Caps during the Bergeron line's 8:55 of 5v5 ice time.
But here comes the punchline — one that you all were expecting, given that most of you saw what actually transpired out on the ice over three games. Despite all those quality looks, they didn't account for much in terms of actual offensive output, with Boston actually outscored, 2-1, during that 27:54 of 5v5 ice time. The lone goal they did score was actually off of a Charlie McAvoy blast from the blue line against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, with Bergeron factoring into the play with an O-zone faceoff win.
In a development that should surprise just about no one, the Bruins aren't going to be going anywhere if their top line continues to sputter when it comes to capitalizing on the scoring chances they're clearly generating. They look much better from what we first saw against Philadelphia or even Columbus back in July, but that trio is still a ways away from the two-way buzzsaw we're used to seeing.
15.79: The Kuraly Line's offensive zone faceoff percentage during round-robin play
One of the reasons why the Bergeron line's offensive metrics have spiked lately? Well, for one, they're still really damn good. Duh. But the Bruins have also been doing their damndest to get that line clicking — with 92.31% of that top line's faceoffs coming in the offensive zone. Given their struggles so far, it makes sense that Boston is doing what it can to give its big guns a leg up when it comes to favorable ice.
But if the Bergeron and Co. are going to be spending most of their minutes in the offensive zone generating scoring chances, who draws the short straw when it comes to taking more D-zone draws?