Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers
12:30 p.m. EST – Sunday, March 21, 2010
Live on NBC
Join us for a live chat during today’s game at Noon EST.
I know it’s tough to do, but it’s something that is key to winning
games that the Boston Bruins are having major problems actually doing:
scoring goals. The Bruins are dead last in the NHL in goals scored per
game, and somehow still find themselves in position to make the
playoffs. Heck, they’re actually in a playoff spot right now.
if they are able to hold onto a playoff position, what’s the chance
they are going to be successful in the playoffs? Has any team recently
been able to actually have success in the playoffs, even if they were in
the bottom five in the NHL is scoring? The answer will not surprise you
History is not on Boston’s side.
I only took
a look at the scoring stats for playoff teams since the lockout, since
that’s when the NHL changed the rules up to make scoring so much
There’s actually been a surprisingly high number of teams
able to make the playoffs with a bottom-five offense; the 05-06 Calgary
Flames, the 06-07 New Jersey Devils, the 07-08 Devils and Anaheim Ducks,
and the 08-09 New York Rangers. All of these teams made it to the
playoffs with incredibly sub-par offenses; the Flames in 2006 were even
division winners. None of these were dead least in offense, however.
Yet only the Devils in 2006-07 were able to
actually get out of the first round; they promptly lost in the second
round, and were dominated by the Ottawa Senators.
Defense alone will not win
The old adage, especially in football but even
in hockey from ten years ago, was that great defense and goaltending
could carry you to a championship. The Devils alone are proof that this
does not work any more in today’s NHL. They have the great Martin
Brodeur and the world’s stingiest defensive system; even they could not
muster much of a fight without the ability to put the puck in the net.
team, for the most part, that is in the playoffs will have
good-to-great goaltending; it’s the ability to overcome your opponent’s
defense and goaltending that drives teams on to the next round. Goals
are at a premium once the playoffs start, and teams need the ability to
actually put points on the scoreboard to even have a shot at advancing.
The Bruins have more
problems right now then just
an inability to score; they have no fight, no motivation and supposedly
their locker room is falling apart. Perhaps the offense is the
least of their worries — although I’m pretty certain it’s a major
concern — as they try to get their team to actually start playing
The Marc Savard injury is painful for this team to
bear, but fans cannot blame his absence for the lack of offense; Boston couldn’t score to save their life long before he was lost for,
most likely, the season.
The Bruins have to actually make
the playoffs first and that’s a sticky situation at best at this point. Could
they have success once they get there, even with Tuukka Rask playing out
of his mind? The history books — well, the recent ones — say no.