There’s no denying that the Boston Bruins have one of the best lines in hockey. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have been lights out for years now. Whenever they’re on, they’re incredibly difficult to stop.
But whenever they lose a game, there seems to be a pattern. Either, the opponent was able to keep the Bruins first line in check, or Boston just didn’t get enough scoring from their other lines.
Last night’s overtime defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers was the Bruins’ third consecutive loss and their fourth in five games. If we take a look at the last three games in particular, it’s evident that they need someone on lines two through four to step up.
In the loss to the Flyers, it was Pastrnak who scored both of Boston’s goals. In Tuesday’s 4-3 OT loss to Winnipeg, Bergeron scored twice and Pastrnak scored once. In the 3-2 defeat to the Rangers before their bye week, the Bruins got a goal from Marchand and Danton Heinen, which was a nice change or pace, but still not enough.
That means that their top three forwards have accounted for six of their seven goals during this three-game skid. No wonder the Bruins have been linked to Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin. They need someone else that’s capable of contributing offense on a regular basis.
When looking at their scoring leaders, it’s no surprise to see Pastrnak (61 points), Marchand (57 points) and Bergeron (44 points in 35 games) at the top list. Veteran David Krejci has a respectable 40 points, while defeseman Torey Krug has 34. After Krug, the next best scorer is Jake DeBrusk, who has 18 points (!!!) in 42 games. Sean Kuraly, Danton Heinan and David Backes all have 14 points or fewer. That’s a significant drop off.
Another big issue, is that the Bruins have started getting into the habit of squandering leads. They’ve scored the first goal in in each of their last six games, but they’ve gone just 1-3-2 during that stretch. They simply can’t allow that to happen, especially when you consider how tight the standings are in the Eastern Conference and in the Atlantic Division, in particular.
As of right now, they’re sitting in third place in the Atlantic, but the Canadiens are tied with them in points, with 61. On a positive note, the Bruins are just one point back of Toronto for second place.
There’s still time for them to get back on track, but they’ll likely have to make a significant move if they want to make a long run in the playoffs. Someone like Panarin, Wayne Simmonds or Mark Stone would be a perfect fit.
Of all the teams currently in a playoff spot, only the Islanders, Wild and Stars have scored fewer goals than Boston’s 148 (17th in the NHL).
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.