By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
With the final game on April 6th, the Boston Bruins officially ended their 2018-19 regular season and now look ahead to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, starting Thursday, April 11th in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against none other than the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The regular season was a long, winding roller-coaster for the Bruins. Injuries, droughts, streaks, and points were all in the recipe that created the story that was this season and somehow, the fans of the Black and Gold did not fall to the ground numerous times throughout this time due to the constant breath-taking events.
Standings & Team Statistics
Looking at face value, the Boston Bruins ended the 82-game season with 49 wins, 24 losses and nine more losses in post-regulation play. Their 107 points earned them the third spot in the entire league, behind the Tampa Bay Lightning who dominated with an incredible 62-16-4 record – winning the President’s Trophy and the Calgary Flames, who finished with same points as Boston, but managed to finish with three more regulation plus overtime wins (ROW).
The Bruins scored the 11th most goals in the league, tallying a total of 257 goals for an average of 3.13 goals-for-per-game. On the other side of the puck, the goaltenders of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak helped the Bruins finish in the top 3 for least number of goals allowed in the entire season, allowing just 212 goals against, an average of 2.59 goals-against-per-game. More specifically, the Bruins trailed only the New York Islanders for least even-strength goals against (148).
Specialty teams were one of the biggest strengths for Boston and they remain that way heading into the post-season. Boston concluded the ’18/’19 campaign with a 25.9% success rate on the power-play, the third best in the National Hockey League. However, the B’s did allow a league-leading 15 short-handed goals against, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The penalty kill was not terrific for a top-3 NHL team, but that could also be due to the large mass of injuries to the blue line that hindered the defensive consistency of Boston. The Bruins have the 16th-best PK percentage, killing off just under 80% of the penalties they took. Regarding on penalties, the Bruins took the second-highest penalties-per-game, averaging 9.7 penalty minutes during the course of the season, behind only the New York Rangers.
Even with all of the injuries throughout the regular season, the Bruins still managed to do quite well on an individual basis as many skaters and goaltenders set new career-highs and played some of the best hockey of their NHL career. Players that are included within the following section are players that are likely to play in the first-round series or have had an impact on the team. AHL players and some rookies, as well as traded players, will not be included.
- Brad Marchand – 79GP – 36-64-100
- David Pastrnak – 66GP- 38-43-81
- Patrice Bergeron – 65GP – 32-47-79
- David Krejci – 81GP – 20-53-73
- Jake DeBrusk – 68GP – 27-15-42
- Danton Heinen – 77GP – 11-23-34
- Sean Kuraly – 71GP – 8-13-21
- David Backes – 70GP – 7-13-20
- Chris Wagner – 76GP – 12-7-19
- Noel Acciari – 72GP – 6-8-14
- Joakim Nordstrom – 70GP – 7-5-12
- Charlie Coyle – 21GP – 2-4-6
- Karson Kuhlman – 11GP – 3-2-5
- Marcus Johansson – 10GP – 1-2-3
Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron all set new career-highs in almost every category and that line proved that even with the absence of some of them, can produce at a high-level and they are truly one of the best lines in all of hockey today. Below that, David Krejci assisted on 53 goals and Jake DeBrusk nearly hit the 30-goal mark. Both of those two can add some much-needed depth scoring in the playoffs.
Trade deadline acquisitions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson have not been as amazing as may be hoped, but both have had to deal with a brand new system and brand of hockey in addition to Johansson missing games due to a lung contusion. Forward Karson Kuhlman has been great, scoring five points in eleven games and has been reliable for replacing the injured forwards on the roster.
The devastating injuries ran hard through the defensive core of the B’s, forcing the club to use twelve different defenders throughout the year, with only one of them playing more than 70 games (Brandon Carlo – 72GP). Even heading into the best-of-seven series against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins will be without John Moore and Kevan Miller for a good portion of the series.
- Torey Krug – 64GP – 6-47-53
- Charlie McAvoy – 54GP – 7-21-28
- Matt Grzelcyk – 66GP – 3-15-18
- Zdeno Chara – 62GP – 5-9-14
- John Moore – 61GP – 4-9-13
- Brandon Carlo – 72GP – 2-8-10
- Kevan Miller – 39GP – 0-7-7
- Steven Kampfer – 35GP – 3-3-6
- Jeremy Lauzon – 16GP – 1-0-1
- Connor Clifton – 19GP – 0-1-1
- Urho Vaakanainen – 2GP – 0-0-0
- Jakub Zboril – 2GP – 0-0-0
Torey Krug has been what he has been for the last few years – a good offensive defenseman that is deadly on the power-play. Krug is the quarterback of the Bruins man-advantage and he knows how to feed the forwards on the ice, a characteristic represented by his 47 assists on the season.
Other than that, when the players have been healthy and on the ice, they have been pretty good for the most part. It seems that health will be the biggest deciding factor for the Bruins’ defense versus Toronto.
I recently wrote an article on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website about the work of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak and how the combination of the two could be the biggest advantage that the Bruins have against the Leafs for the postseason series. You can check out that piece HERE.
- Tuukka Rask – 45GS – 27-13-5 .912 SV% 2.48 GAA 4 Shutouts
- Jaroslav Halak – 37GS – 22-11-4 .922 SV% 2.34 GAA 5 Shutouts
Both Rask and Halak have statistics in the top ten of the league in all of the main goaltending categories including goals-against-average and save percentage. While Tuukka is the deserving starting man in between the pipes, Halak is a great second option if the play of Rask falters at all throughout the series.
Boston Bruins vs. NHL
With one win shy of 50 wins on the season, the Boston Bruins picked up victories over every single team in the NHL except for two – the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks. Other than that, the Bruins had at least one victory over everyone, with some of them being clean season series sweeps.
Boston won the season series over the Ottawa Senators (4 games), New York Islanders (3 games), Vegas Golden Knights (2 games), San Jose Sharks (2 games), Minnesota Wild (2 games), Los Angeles Kings (2 games), Chicago Blackhawks (2 games), Arizona Coyotes (2 games), and the Anaheim Ducks (2 games).
Boston found success over the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs, sealing 75% of the possible points in the season series when it was all said and done. In fact, Boston ended the season matchups with four of the five other Original Six franchises with an above .500 point percentage, with only the Detroit Red Wings beating Boston in the four-game series in 2018-19.
The Boston Bruins scored the majority of their goals in the second period, tallying 93 total goals in the middle twenty minutes. Aside from that, they allowed the most goals in the third period (79).
When the B’s managed to score the game’s first goal, they found great success, finishing the season with a 34-7-5 record. Looking at the other side of the coin, Boston had a 15-17-4 record when the opposing team scored the first tally of the contest, something to be noted heading into the playoffs.
Injury Report (April 10th)
- F Sean Kuraly – Hand – Will not play Game 1, could return later in series
- D John Moore – Upper-Body – Will not play Game 1, could return later in series
- D Kevan Miller – Lower-Body – Unlikely to miss the start of the postseason
- F Chris Wagner – Lower-Body – Cleared for Game 1
Without further ado, that is the entire 2018-19 NHL regular season all wrapped up and finished. The Boston Bruins begin their road to their first Stanley Cup since 2011 Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. For a full preview on the best-of-seven series, check out fellow BNG Site writer, Yanni Latzanakis’ article HERE.
May the best team win.