By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh
The Boston Bruins were red-hot in February, winning 11 games and only losing three. The Bruins faced off against eight Western Conference teams and played five original-six match-ups. They were also dominant in regulation, forcing only two games into overtime and not a single shootout. The Bruins also had to endure the challenge of four back-to-back games and won six out of eight games. To conclude the month of February, David Pastrnak ended up being named NHL’s 3rd Star of the Month.
Bruins’ Stars Of The Month
No surprise here, the ‘Perfection Line’ was incredibly impressive in the 14 games played in February, combining for 23 goals and 48 points. Brad Marchand is currently riding a nine-game point streak, had six multi-point games, and finished the month with six goals and 17 points with a +8 rating. Patrice Bergeron tallied seven goals, 12 points with a +10 rating, and averaged over 50% in face-off-wins. Pastrnak led the Bruins with 10 goals and 19 points.
Charlie Coyle showed off his versatility in February, scoring a goal on the power-play as well as the short-handed unit, which ended up being the game-winning goal. He was also dealt with the challenge of having several different wingers in-and-out of his line and playing a new role on the central power-play unit. Coyle finished the month with seven goals and a +6 rating.
The Bruins’ fourth-line were very effective in shutting down other teams’ top lines and found ways to chip in to help their team win. Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner were the matching partners, with the third forward spot rotating between Par Lindholm, Anton Blidh, and Joakim Nordstrom. Kuraly and Wagner brought energy and power to the lineup every game, both players combined for three goals, seven points, and 73 hits with a +4 rating.
It’s safe to say Charlie McAvoy’s’ best month of the season was February, starting with breaking the curse and finally scoring his first goal of the season. He has maintained a strong physical presence and continues to eat up over 20 minutes of on-ice time per game. For the month, he tallied four goals and 13 points with a whopping +13 rating.
There is no doubt that the heroes for February are Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Having the ability to utilize both goalies, especially during a back-to-back game situation, really gives the Bruins an advantage late in the season to pick up those difficult two points. Rask collected six wins, two shutouts, and a .929% save percentage. Halak finished the month with five wins and a .912% save percentage.
Stepping It Up
The Bruins’ second line struggled to find their offensive touch this past month, and Bruce Cassidy decided to change it up last game by moving Nick Ritchie up to David Krejci’s’ left-wing and Ondrej Kase to his right-wing. Jake DeBrusk, Krejci’s’ usual left-wing partner, managed only two goals and four points with a -4 rating. David Krejci didn’t do so hot either, managing only one goal and six points with a -3 rating. With the addition of Ritchie (who recently scored his first goal as a Bruin) and Kase, Krejci will have more options on the wing and have the potential to develop consistent chemistry.
The young guns, Karson Kuhlman and Anders Bjork have a lot to prove before the end of the season because there is a line of players fighting for their spot. Kuhlman was unsuccessful at sparking the offensive for the second-line and scraped away with one goal and three points with a +2 rating. Recently, Cassidy relocated him to the third-line with Coyle and Bjork. Bjork went cold as well, scoring one goal and four points with a +2 rating. Kuhlman and Bjork were both healthy scratches for one game in February, and they will need to generate some offense soon to cement their spot in the line-up for the playoffs.
The Boston Bruins are first in the league, but that does not mean they can sit back and let any points slide by. There are 16 games left in the season, which means 32 points are up for grabs, and anything can happen at this point. They do not have an easy road to the playoffs, as their journey continues in Tampa on Tuesday at 7:30 PM EST. The Bruins are off to a great start, but they will need to restore their scoring depth and continue to play the full 60-minutes each game.
Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 168 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/769220209″ params=”color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]