|The 2010-2011 Bruins won the franchise's sixth Stanley Cup in team history.|
The 2012-2013 Boston Bruins have gotten off to a roaring 8-1-2 start, currently sitting in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference standings with 18 points. Even more impressive, they've played at least two less games than all but one Eastern Conference foe, the 11th place Winnipeg Jets who've played 12.
With all that said, after watching the first 11 games I find myself wondering how good this team has truly been. The defense has no question about it been dominant, but I feel like there have been too many games where if a puck bounces a different direction, this team is sitting at 7-4-0 (would be 9th place), instead of their current mark.
So I decided why not compare this team to the the champions of two seasons ago, and here's what I found:
2010-2011 Bruins through 11 games:
W-L: 7-3-1 (15 pts)
GPG: 3.0 (33)
GAPG: 1.7 (19)
PP: 9/42 (21.4%)
PK: 39/42 (92.8%)
W's of >2 goals: 5
2012-2013 Bruins through 11 games:
W-L: 8-1-2 (18 pts)
GPG: 2.7 (30)
GAPG: 2.2 (24)
PP: 4/43 (9.3%)
PK: 43/46 (93.5%)
W's of >2 goals: 0
In a normal season, an 11-game sample size is small, but for this shortened NHL season, 11 games accounts for almost one quarter of the entire campaign. Clearly this team has had trouble scoring goals in bunches, and therefore has had no success in winning games by margins of more than two goals.
Come playoff time, many of the games are close (17 of 25 B's games decided by 2 or less goals in '11 playoffs), but as far as regular season hockey goes, teams need stretches where they aren't relying of their goalie to stand on his head or the defense dominating for a full 60 minutes. The one blowout on the schedule this season, was a 7-4 shellacking (literally), at the hands of the Sabres.
So while this team has showed grit and determination, and scored goals "at the right time", I still think there are many question marks. Is this really a championship caliber team? Looking back at the past five champions in the NHL, they all had either an elite goalie, or stud scorers to carry them:
2011-2012 Los Angeles Kings:
~G Jonathan Quick regular season: 35-21-13/1.95 GAA/.929 SV%/10 SO, postseason: 16-4/1.41 GAA/.946 SV%/3 SO.
2010-2011 Boston Bruins:
~G Tim Thomas regular season: 35-11-9/2.00 GAA/.938 SV%/9 SO, postseason: 16-9/1.98 GAA/.940 SV%/4 SO.
2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks:
~RW Patrick Kane regular season: 30G/58A/+16, postseason: 10G/18A/-2
~C Jonathan Toews regular season: 25G/43A/+22, postseason: 7G/22A/-1
~C Patrick Sharp regular season: 25G/41A/+24, postseason: 11G/11A/+10
2008-2009 Pittsburgh Penguins:
~C Evgeni Malkin regular season: 35G/78A/+17, postseason: 14G/22A/+3
~C Sidney Crosby regular season: 33G/70A/+3, postseason: 15G/16A/+9
2007-2008 Detroit Red Wings:
~C Pavel Datsyuk regular season: 31G/66A/+41, postseason: 10G/13A/+13
~LW Henrik Zetterberg regular season: 49G/43A/+30, postseason: 13G/14A/+16
Currently the Bruins leader in points is C David Krejci with 11 (T-39th in NHL), and in goals LW Brad Marchand with seven (T-9th in NHL). Goalie Tuukka Rask owns a 6-1-2/2.07 GAA/.907 SV%/1 SO line, but in the past has experienced playoff failure, being the net minder who contributed to blowing a 3-0 series lead to Philadelphia in 2010.
So what it comes down to is, does this team have enough scoring to rely on, or enough confidence in Tuukka to carry them through a grueling two-month playoff run. One things for sure, their going to need more production from "rising star" Tyler Seguin; one goal (empty netters are for dorks) through 11 games will not cut it.
Follow Matt on Twitter - @Matthew_Dyer