By: Lucas Pearson | Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_
In a normal year, I’d probably be writing about how fans need to relax on a Bruins slow start to their season. But instead, we haven’t seen hockey in months, so I’ve had to turn my focus to something else. It’s Thanksgiving, and as an original six team with a ton of recent success, it’s time to take a step back and think about what us Bruins fans have to be thankful for.
The Best Goaltending Tandem in the League
Yea, you read right. The Bruins absolutely own the best goaltending tandem in the NHL, and there are far too many fans that take that for granted. Tuukka Rask may be the most disrespected Boston athlete of all time. He’s tied with Dominik Hasek, yes, the dominator, for the best save percentage of all time and sits fifth overall in GAA (out of goalies that have played since the NHL has tracked save percentage). “Oh, but he chokes in the playoffs,” uh if the 2.20 GAA and .926 save percentage in the playoffs don’t say enough, how about his stats in elimination or put away games. Over his last two playoff outings, Rask sports a .943 SV% and 1.75 GAA in said games. Those are incredible numbers.
Now let’s get to Halak. He’d probably contend for a starting job for about half the teams in the league, but he really excels in this 1B role he has with the Bruins. His 2.39 GAA and .919 SV% were good for sixth and twelfth in the league, respectively, and arguably, more importantly, his play has allowed Rask some time off. This duo has been lights out the past two seasons and helped the Bruins capture the William M. Jennings Trophy last season. There’s no duo quite like the Boston net-minders.
The First Line
The trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak is certainly something that’s more appreciated than the B’s trendy, but I don’t think we will ever truly realize how great this first line is. You’re looking at three potential Hall of Famers who (aside from the always improving Pastrnak) are among the best in the league in every zone on the ice. All three have been so important to the team’s recent success. Over the past three seasons, Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak have scored just under 43% of every single goal scored by a Boston Bruin.
The three all-stars seem to get better as the season goes on. They turn it on in the Playoffs, averaging just under a point per game within the last three runs. Add a couple of Stanley Cups, a few more Selkes, and a Rocket Richard, and that’s all the ingredients you need to have the best line in hockey. And we, of course, can’t forget how the trio is locked up three of the best contracts in the entire league.
Charlie McAvoy might be THE most important player on the Bruins. He doesn’t necessarily have the offensive numbers that blow you away, averaging a point every other game throughout his short NHL career. But he does everything the right way. He is a superb skater and, in turn, is one of the best rush leading defensemen in the league. But even though he’s a threat with his legs, the Boston University product is also not afraid to throw his body around. He’ll light you up if your head is down.
I’m genuinely excited to see what McAvoy will do in an increased role this season. He will likely stay on the top pair but now with Matt Grzelcyk. I totally expect an uptick in the offense for the New York native paired with the far more dynamic Gryz, as well as being the potential fill for the hole on the powerplay left by Torey Krug. He’s shown Drew Doughty tendencies as he’s grown, and I expect him to take another huge step in that direction this year. Even with all that, he is still just 22 goddamn years old. Chucky will be a centerpiece for this Bruins team for years and years to come.