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Boston Bruins Postseason Report Card Position-By-Position
June 28th, 2013 at 9:10 PM By Tim ODonnell
The Boston Bruins had quite a run through the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There were highs and there were lows. But now that its all over, let's take a look back and see how the individuals did. Here are Bruins 101 grades for the Boston Bruins.
Pete: Of all of the Bruins skating positions this group was far and away the most impressive. Each of the Bruins centers brought a different, yet essential component to the table. Despite a lack of recognition, David Krejci lead all of the Burins in points, and in the first three rounds was nothing short of an offensive savant. Patrice Bergeron was, as always able to provide everything from goals to penalty kills, to locking down opposing team’s centers. Finally, until his broken leg Gregory Campbell was the heart of the league’s best fourth line that gave Boston an unexpected edge.
Even the one weak link up the middle, Chris Kelly, eventually came on in the Cup Finals, by scoring goals in multiple games. Kelly was lifeless in the first three rounds, but his performance in the Finals earned him at least some reprieve. According to reports, Bergeron, Kelly, and Krejci were all very vocal leaders in the locker room, and after watching Gregory Campbell battle around on one leg, this group showed it had the intangibles to match it’s production.
Tim: The Bruins showed just how deep they are at center. David Krejci proved once again that he is one of the NHL's elite centers, leading the NHL in playoff points (26) and assists (17). He may be underrated around the league, but Bruins fans know just how good he is. Not to be overshadowed, Patrice Bergeron scored nine goals and 15 assists in the playoffs and continues to be one of the best, if not the best, two-way player in the NHL.
Gregory Campbell showed just how valuable he is after breaking his leg blocking a shot. His absence left a huge hole on the fourth line that was never quite filled despite Rich Peverley's best effort. Peverley and Chris Kelly were enigmas all season but Kelly finally came around in the finals and started producing
Pete: This group was a little bit more of a mixed bag. On the one hand you had the born again dominance of Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic. Horton proved his worth ten fold by playing through a separated shoulder, and Lucic has never been better or more consistent. Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille also proved they were more than up to the task when the B’s needed secondary scoring.
With the good however, came the disappointing. The two biggest culprits were both members of the third line. Tyler Seguin had an excellent last couple of games against the Blackhawks, but his performance on the road to the Cup was rough. Seguin has talent to make the difference against team’s like the Hawks, but unfortunately he just isn’t there yet.
Where Seguin showed some improvement, Rich Peverley likely made himself expendable this off-season Peverley only scored two goals the entire playoffs, and often looked lost in all three zones. Claude Julien finally demoted Pevs to the fourth line, but one has to wonder if it shouldn’t have come sooner. Ultimately, this wasn’t a full effort from top to bottom.
Tim: Outside of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, the wingers did not make a big impact. Lucic and Horton had identical score lines of seven goals and 19 points. They were a dominating force when on the ice together. The Bruins were able to find some scoring from wings. Daniel Paille chipped in with four goals and showed that he is more than just a fourth line player. Brad Marchand also had four goals, but all came before the finals, where he went goal less.
The two guys who were expected to produce (Tyler Seguin and Jaromir Jagr), did not. Seguin scored just once in the playoffs while Jagr never found the back of the net. Jagr was able to at least help out offensively, dishing out 10 assists and helped the power play become a viable threat. Seguin, on the other hand, was almost not existent offensively. While he was doing the small things and playing defense, the main reason Seguin is in the lineup is to score, which he did not do.
Pete: Of all of the Bruins positions this was the hardest to grade. With injuries to Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden (he did in fact play), the Bruins young guns stepped up. Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug look like they going to be mainstays, as the kids were able to bring a level of speed and aggression that has been missing from Causeway Street.
Adam McQuaid and Andrew Ference provided solid minutes, but the burden of stopping the opponent’s best line was always going to be on Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara. The B’s best pairing was dynamite against the Penguins, but was surprisingly frustrating in the latter half of the series with the Blackhawks. Maybe they were worn down, or maybe Chicago was that good, but either way, Big Z and Seidenberg couldn’t close the door when the Bruins needed it most.
Tim: The last image of the Bruins defense is of the group that collapsed in the final minute of Game 6. But that doesn't tell the whole story. Zdeno Chara and company were very solid throughout the playoffs after an up and down regular season. This is the same group that held the Pittsburgh Penguins to two goals in four games. It's unfortunate that the season ended with the defense playing just so-so but that's no reason to worry moving forward.
Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, and Andrew Ference all provided solid minutes and chipped in offensively. Boychuk and Ference were especially important, each averaged over 23 minutes of ice time a game and helped to keep Chara and Seidenberg's ice time down a little bit.
The Bruins saw the emergence of Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski. No one expected them to step in and perform as well as they did, but they did. Those two should be in the lineup next season. Their emergence unfortunately means that Ference's time in Boston has come to an end.
Pete: To say that Tuukka Rask answered the bell would be the understatement of the year. From the second round on, Rask gave up just two bad goals, and was the Bruins best player in the ice in roughly three quarters of the games played. The Finish native made numerous spectacular saves, and his fluid style of play allowed him to break through in the playoffs.
Amazingly, Rask’s most outstanding attribute was his mental toughness. Critics wondered if Tuukka would be haunted by his experience in 2010. Boy they couldn’t have been more wrong. Rask was cool, calm, and collected throughout the entirety of the postseason, and finally proved he belonged among the NHL’s elite goaltenders.
Tim: Any questions people may have had about Tuukka Rask should be gone now. He's clearly a No. 1 goalie in the NHL and should have been a Vezina finalist this season.
Aside from the infamous miscue in New York, Rask was solid nearly every game and came up with the saves when called upon. He kept the Bruins in games when they slept walked through opening period and sealed wins with big stops. A long term deal is no doubt on it's way.
Pete: With ten minutes to go in Game Seven against Toronto, it looked as though head coach Claude Julien was on his way out the door. Fast forward to today, and Julien’s job looks as safe as ever. Julien’s even temperament sculpted the Bruins identity that allowed them to steamroll through the Ranger’s and the Penguins, and after two trips to the Cup in three years, there is a mountain of proof that his system does work. Julien can stick with veterans a little bit too long (Peverley and Kelly come to mind), but overall the Bruins management, fans, and players should have faith in Claude going forward.
Tim: It's really hard to argue against results and thats what Claude Julien delievers. While some may questions his system, the players he dresses, or anything else, the results speak for themselves. Two Eastern Conference Championships and a Stanley Cup in the last three years says enough. While he may prefer veterans to rookies, he certainly let the kids play this year. Torey Krug remained in the lineup after the defense got healthy. It's time to stop questioning Julien.