Boston Bruins: We’re Lacking The Right Player To Fill-In On The Top Line

Boston Bruins, Anders Bjork #10 (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins, Anders Bjork #10 (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins are stuck without star right-winger David Pastrnak and are struggling to find the perfect replacement player for their top line in the interim.

In Game 3, Anders Bjork saw the most 5-on-5 ice-time with the Boston Bruins usual top line duo Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

For all intent and purposes, it worked – in their 4:52 of 5-on-5 ice time, they had a positive Corsi For of 60%, a positive Fenwick For of 55.56% and a top-notch 71.43% Shots For.

While they didn’t score any goals at 5-on-5, they certainly helped to maintain possession and put shots on the Hurricanes’ net. Perhaps a large amount of this success though can be attributed to 80% of their face-offs being in the offensive zone.

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In Game 2, the first game without Pastrnak, it was also Anders Bjork alongside the Bruins top line duo and again all advanced analytics tilt the ice in their favor.

In 7:34 of 5-on-5 ice-time, they had a Corsi For of 65.38, Fenwick For of 66.67% and Shots For of 76.92%, limited the Canes to just three chances on Tuukka Rask’s net.

On that occasion, they only saw 50% of their face-offs in the offensive zone, so maybe I under-sell the value that Bjork is bringing to the Boston Bruins. It’s the lack of actual point production that makes it hard to sell.

Take Game 1 for instance when Pastrnak was fit and healthy, the usual top line trio played together for 14:22 (an elevated number due to 2OT) at 5-on-5 and scored 2 goals together.

It’s not really to say that Bjork is doing a bad job alongside Marchand and Bergeron; to say that is unfair. However, their elite scoring ability is certainly less on show when Bjork is the third man, let’s say that.

Maybe this isn’t about Bjork at all though, as the whole team seems to be struggling to score at even-strength; our last even-strength goal came in Game 1 after all. Either way, the Boston Bruins shouldn’t look to rush Pastrnak back into the line-up until he’s healthy.

Next. How David Pastrnak's Absence Is Hurting The Canes. dark

Right now, they’re managing to not sink when Bjork is out there and that’s more than good enough, especially as other lines have been stepping up.

Statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.