Noticeable Trends For The Boston Bruins As Playoffs Draw Near

Mar 18, 2023; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his power play goal with teammates during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2023; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his power play goal with teammates during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports /

What a magical run this season has been for the Boston Bruins. The milestones this club has hit is remarkable and the historic run is not over. Despite all the buzz and excitement surrounding the club, there are questions leading up to the playoffs. We will examine the Boston Bruins trends as the playoffs draw near.

Boston Bruins Trends Entering Playoffs

Even with the playoffs drawing near, there are still things going on beyond the scenes. Questions that have arisen and will need to be answered. Luckily there is still time, but the quest for the cup starts in less than two weeks. Here are some noticeable Boston Bruins trends as the season concludes.

Just Get Healthy

This has been among the biggest of the Boston Bruins trends. With the Presidents Trophy locked up, there is nothing left to play for. The Boston Bruins have home ice throughout the entire playoffs that they rightfully earned being the best team all year. However, it has come at a price to end the season. Derek Forbort has been ruled out for the rest of the season, but depth has been at the forefront. In addition, the club has been without Taylor Hall (who could make a return) and Nick Foligno. But that has not stopped there. Charlie McAvoy left the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs the other night, and David Krejci has been ruled out the weekend. The injury bug finally came at the end of the season.

At this rate, just get through the final games without any major blows. Fans are holding their breath making sure nobody else goes down. The beautiful thing about this Bruins team this season is that the next man up gets the job done. Boston is a deep hockey team and it has shown with their record since the trade deadline. Bottom line is, get healthy and gear up for a deep run.

The Goalie Debacle

This should not be a debacle, but the conversations have been swirling. For all of this season, Jim Montgomery has utilized his goaltenders so well. In fact, it has been a very balanced share of the crease. Linus Ullmark saw a heavier load when Jeremy Swayman missed time to begin the season. Montgomery wanted to make sure the next goalie was fresh and saw playing time, and that strategy has paid off. The Boston Bruins won the Presidents Trophy and both goalies have given the team a chance to win every night.

Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman are arguably the best tandem in hockey. Both rank in the top ten in goals saved above expected (Ullmark 41.3, Swayman 23.8). In addition, Ullmark has a 1.90 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage whereas Swayman has a 2.20 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. Given the year Ullmark has had, he is the clear cut starter for Game One and rightfully so. Ty Anderson has orevioauly discussed what they do going forward and if this goaltending system plays out the way it does.

Playoffs is different than the regular season.  If Ullmark is playing great then there is no need to remove him for Swayman. However, both goaltenders have minimal playoff experience only playing in one round (last season). Ullmark will be the starter, but like last season Swayman will be waiting in the wings for his chance if needed.

Lineup Chemistry

This is what everyone has been wanting. For Don Sweeney to go all in on this core group while they are still here. Granted, good pieces of that core have moved on, but a chunk of it remains. This may be the final crack at the Stanley Cup for this core group. Sweeney did his part by acquiring Dimitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway, and Tyler Bertuzzi at the trade deadline this year. While all three have been acclimated to the lineup, it poses a question when the lineup is at full health.

The top two lines will remain intact, it is the bottom six that will be figured out. At practice this past week, Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle, and Bertuzzi have skated as a line. This line is loaded and can cause matchup problems for other team’s come Game One. But the latest Boston Bruins trend is developed chemistry. The line of Coyle, Bertuzzi, and Frederic has proven to be good together. But a healthy Hall is a superior player to Frederic. With only a few games remaining, it will be a telling sign if the trio can develop chemistry before the playoffs start. Sometimes it takes a moment to develop that chemistry, but once it arrives it is a great thing.

The fourth line will still feature Hathaway and Tomas Nosek. However, the final spot will be up for grabs between Frederic, Nick Foligno, and Jakob Lauko. Lauko has made a case to stay in the lineup. He may not play the biggest minutes, but he makes the most of the minutes he does play. Frederic has been a bright spot under Montgomery and unless Foligno is fully healthy, he should stick around. All in all, it is about developing chemistry for the forward lines with the handful of games remaining.

Still Meaningful Games Ahead

You’d think after winning the Presidents Trophy there’s nothing left to play for right? Well, the Bruins do have something to play for. The Boston Bruins are playing for history. They want their season etched into the record books. As it stands, the Bruins have 61 wins and are one win say from tying the all-time record. It is currently held by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and was tied by the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning.

Individuals are playing for something as well. After hitting the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career, David Pastrnak wants more. Pastrnak currently sits with 57 goals and four games remaining. He is trying to join Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid in recently hitting the 60-goal mark. He will get his first crack at it Saturday Night as the New Jersey Devils come to town. With the season already being magical, this is one way to cap it all off after signing the big contract.