My old friends at NBC Sports Boston say it’s not time to panic with the Boston Bruins going three straight games to start the new hockey season without an even strength goal.
Some fancy stats are used as the smoking gun evidence and there is clearly something there to consider given that Boston is controlling portions of the play, even if two of those games were against an expected East Division doormat in the New Jersey Devils.
The Bruins were an average-to-below average even strength team prior to this season and they subtracted their best offensive defenseman from the mix this offseason in Torey Krug. The B’s added Craig Smith, who looks like he’s going to help during 5-on-5 play, but they also have way too many players like Jake DeBrusk and Ondrej Kase that accumulate shots on net without actually scoring the goals to accompany the fancy stats.
Instead of landing a cheap free agent sniper like Mike Hoffman for a steal on the open market, they decided to go with the guys they already had in-house that have been part of the 5-on-5 problem over the last couple of seasons.
The only other NHL team without an even strength goal is the Dallas Stars, and that’s because they haven’t even played a game yet due to COVID-19 issues. The last time the Bruins went three consecutive games without an even strength goal was 2006-07 when they didn’t make the playoffs in the first year of the Zdeno Chara era in Boston. That’s not great, Bob!
Alright, found it: Last time Bruins went three straight regular season games without even-strength goal: Mar. 15-20, 2007. Bruins scored three goals (all power-play) in 4-3 shootout win over Capitals, were shutout in next two games (7-0 to NYR, 1-0 to Canadiens).
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) January 19, 2021
Clearly things will improve once David Pastrnak makes his triumphant return and the hope is there will be more of an offensive push from the back end once the young defensemen get a little more confident at the NHL level. But this isn’t exactly something that came out of left field. This is an ongoing, chronic issue with this particular Bruins group and it still hasn’t been adequately addressed with the offseason moves enacted by B’s management.
There is absolutely good reason to panic right now that the Boston Bruins don’t have enough offensive punch to be a Stanley Cup contender, and that there’s a real danger of missing the playoffs should the B’s get off to a stumbling start in this short 56-game season.
Now on to the puck links:
*Speaking of the New Jersey Devils, boy that Jack Hughes is looking pretty good after scoring a pair of goals on Tuesday night.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) January 20, 2021
*Mark Madden says that 3-on-3 OT hockey has been ruined at the NHL level. Sorry, I’m just not buying that one even if it’s not as wide open as it once was. (105.9 the X)
*Why didn’t the Pittsburgh Penguins play new toy Kasperi Kapanen more in their OT win over the Washington Capitals? FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Kingerski has the answers. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
*I had a little fun with this Brenden Lemieux shift where he blocked a couple of shots, but this is undoubtedly a gritty, ballsy shift for the New York Rangers forward. His dad is still a turtle, though.
Brenden Lemieux looks like hes doing an impersonation of his dad Claude every time Cam Neely challenged him to a fight 🐢 pic.twitter.com/NRtkGiH0ai
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) January 20, 2021
*Bobby Ryan is off to an incredible start for the Detroit Red Wings, continuing a really nice comeback story for the NHL scorer the last couple of seasons. (Sportsnet)
*One silver lining for the Bruins through their slow offensive start? The penalty kill has been lights out without Zdeno Chara to start this season and that was definitely a question mark. (Boston Hockey Now)
*Great get for Pierre Lebrun interviewing Mike Babcock for the first time since his firing by the Toronto Maple Leafs. But I find his answers about the Johan Franzen situation to be very light where he plays the victim rather than addressing his own accountability in the situation. It doesn’t sound like he blames himself at all. (The Athletic)
*Steve Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning are off to a hot start, which makes it seem like the Bolts are going to be totally okay without Nikita Kucherov this season. (The Athletic)
*For something completely different: Cool recounting of the first time Chris Evans say himself wielding Thor’s hammer in Avengers: Endgame. (We Got This Covered)