5 Eye-Popping Statistics from the Boston Bruins' 2013 Playoff Campaign
It's hard to believe that just one week ago the Boston Bruins looked doomed to their second consecutive first round playoff exit, trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs by three goals early in the third period of Game 7. Since then Bruins have experienced a tremendous renaissance, giving them a healthy 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers.
After scoring four unanswered goals to send the Toronto Maple Leafs packing, Claude Julien's bunch halted Henrik Lundqvist's two-game shutout streak and poured eight goals past the defending Vezina winner to take a firm grip on their second round series.
On Tuesday, they will travel to Madison Square Garden with an opportunity to put themselves on the brink of a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
As Game 3 approaches, lets take a look at some of the numbers behind Boston's latest surge.
1. David Krejci's League-Leading 16 Points
Though David Krejci has often disappointed in the regular season, he has long since proven his playoff value. The 27-year-old center has exploded in recent weeks to post a league-leading 16 postseason points.
Leading the Bruins in both goals (5) and assists (11), Krejci has more than doubled his scoring rate from the regular season. Posting 33 points in 47 regular season games, the Bruins' top assist-man averaged 0.7 points-per-game. In nine postseason games he is averaging a remarkable 1.78 points-per-game.
In recent years, the Bruins Stanley Cup hopes have been driven largely by Krejci's postseason success. Perhaps it is no coincidence that when the Bruins hoisted the Cup in 2011, it was Krejci who finished the playoffs as the NHL's points leader with 23 in 25 games.
The Czech playmaker's success has not been limited to his own point total. In fact No. 46 has seemingly rejuvenated linemates Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton who have combined for 19 this spring, with each winger averaging a point-per-game.
The Bruins oft-underachieving first line currently holds the top three positions on the league's plus-minus leaderboard, with a combined plus-37 rating through nine games. If Krejci's trio can keep finding the twine, they could carry the Bruins deep into the summer.
2. 10 Goals Scored by Defensmen
After spending much of the year in search of scoring depth, the Bruins have found a surprising number of goals coming from their blue line.
Through nine games, the Bruins' defensive corps has produced 10 goals, with many of them coming in critical situations. That number may not seem enormous until it is compared to the measly 23 goals potted by Boston blue-liners in the 48 game regular season.
The red-light parade may have begun in a familiar fashion, with a couple of laser beams from rocket-launching veterans Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk who have combined for five goals so far.
However, it took a surprising turn in the second round with the emergence of rookie Torey Krug. In the wake of injuries to Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden, the former-Michigan State captain was given his playoff debut in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Though short in stature, Krug has proved to be huge in terms of heart and skill. Like Tyler Seguin back in 2011, he managed to score in both of his first two career playoff games. After posting 45 points in 63 AHL games with Providence this season, Krug has given the Bruins a dynamic edge with his tendency to carry the puck up ice on the breakout and his ability to jump into the rush.
It remains to be seen how Claude Julien will allocate minutes to his defensemen when Seidenberg, Ference and Redden eventually return, but for now the generally conservative Bruins blue-liners are thriving in a more aggressive style.
3. Johnny Boychuk's 35 Blocked Shots
John Tortorella's New York Rangers have long taken pride in their shot blocking expertise. In recent years, Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan and the rest of the Broadway Blue Shirts have made a habit of self-sacrifice to protect Henrik Lundqvist from many a scoring chance, earning the respect of the entire National Hockey League along the way.
However, the constant talk about the bruises of the ever-reckless Rangers has overshadowed the Bruins's tremendous effort in the same department.
Though Johnny Boychuk has drawn praise for his three postseason goals this spring, he may deserve more credit for his league-leading 35 blocked shots.
Ever the unsung hero, Johnny Boychuk has displayed remarkable toughness in his defense of Tuukka Rask throughout the playoffs, while managing to contribute at both ends of the ice.
In the chase for the Cup it is often the little things that win games, and No. 55 is a master of those little things. With Dennis Seidenberg injured, Johnny Boychuk has stepped up in every way and his veteran leadership is a major reason why the Bruins look capable of another deep playoff run.
4. Tyler Seguin's 35 Shots on Goal
Tipped for stardom heading into the shortened season, Tyler Seguin failed to meet expectations and his luck has somehow gotten even worse in the playoffs.
Despite leading all Bruins forwards with 35 shots on goal, the 21-year-old has yet to score a goal. With just one assist to his name, Seguin has been demoted to the Bruins' third line where he has continued to struggle along with new linemates Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.
Though the statistics are clearly cause for concern, they hardly seem to do Seguin justice. The former second-overall pick has still managed to be a nuisance for opposing teams, often putting himself in dangerous positions.
He has looked especially good on the power play of late, though he has nothing to show for it on the scoresheet.
Arguably the most naturally talented Bruin, Seguin will have to improve if he wants to carve his name in Lord Stanley's hardware for a second time. However, perhaps he has been a victim of bad luck, or at least great goaltending.
Seguin has always been a streaky player, scoring 16 of his 32 regular season points in a 16 game stretch bookended by long bouts of mediocrity. Perhaps, the youngster simply needs to light the lamp once or twice to regain his confidence.
Eventually, the shots seemingly have to start going in, and when they do the Bruins could find themselves clicking on all cylinders.
5. Patrice Bergeron's Plus-49 Faceoff Differential
For years, Patrice Bergeron has been the epitome of consistent all-around excellence, but the defending Selke Trophy winner might just be playing the best hockey of his career this postseason.
Bergeron's contributions in the clutch have grabbed headlines in recent days, as he provided the tying-goal and OT game-winner in Game 7 against Toronto before setting up Brad Marchand for another walk-off strike in Game 1 against the New York Rangers. However, Bergeron's enormous contribution to the Bruins' playoff run cannot be reduced entirely to goals and assists.
Bergeron's work in the faceoff circle is worthy of particular praise. After leading the league with a regular season winning percentage of 62.1 percent, Bergeron has improved to an otherworldly 63.5 percent this spring.
To put that number in perspective, no other centerman who has taken more than 100 draws this postseason has won more than 60.0 percent of the time.
Bergeron's 115 faceoff wins, compared to just 66 losses, have given the Bruins a 49 draw advantage when he's on the ice.
Considering the fact that many of Bergeron's visits to the dot have come on the penalty kill, his victories have given Boston a remarkable possession advantage.
The Bruins have ridden Bergeron to the league's best team faceoff percentage (58.3%), and their puck drop dominance should continue to be a key against a Rangers team that has lost the majority of their draws.
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