The Boston Bruins will be able to fend off the Carolina Hurricanes without depth scoring, especially with the Canes losing Andrei Svechnikov likely for the rest of the series. Secondary scoring will, however, be needed in order for the Bruins to make a successful playoff run. The Bruins scored four goals, two goals, and three goals in their first three games. It’s been the usual suspects for the Bruins accompanied with almost no scoring help from role players.
Here is a full list of the Bruins goal-scorers so far:
Game 1: Pastrnak (1), Coyle (1), Krejci (1), Bergeron (1)
Game 2: Krejci (2), Marchand (1)
Game 3: Coyle (2), Kuraly (1), Marchand (2, EN)
The only bottom-6 forward to score thus far is Sean Kuraly. Everyone loves Kuraly’s game, but the Bruins cannot rely on consistent scoring from the gritty fourth liner. I cannot foresee any scenario in which Kuraly makes a Noel Acciari-like scoring jump for this playoff run.
History shows that the Bruins first line is prone to the occasional scoring slump in the playoffs and it isn’t fair to rely so heavily on the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak combination. Krejci looks great so far and so does Coyle. Other than that, the secondary scoring of the Bruins is non-existent. The projected line combinations for tonight’s game 4 is as follows:
The Bruins need to find secondary scoring, and my main culprits are the current right-wingers. Anders Bjork, Ondrej Kase, and or Jack Studnicka need to find the back of the net if the Bruins are to make a deep playoff push.
Kase and Bjork are particularly frustrating because they show so much promise yet have a hard time burying the puck in the net. Kase, who has looked tremendous with the puck on his stick, needs to capitalize on his scoring chances. Bruins fans have long understood the importance of giving David Krejci wingers who can score. Even though Krejci has looked aggressive as ever, he still is a past first player. If Kase can capitalize on the plethora of chances he’s seen, the Bruins could once again have a dominant second line.
Take away the three-penalty game Bjork had in his debut with Marchand and Bergeron and the newly re-signed right winger shows glimpses of scoring potential. Bjork is a great skater who is able to use his speed to create his own chances. What Bjork hasn’t been able to show is the ability to score goals. Bjork should find himself with multiple opportunities to prove me wrong as long as David Pastrnak remains out of the lineup.
I love Studnicka’s potential as much as anyone else does, but it might be too much to ask of the rookie to give the Bruins consistent scoring. Anything Studnicka can give the Bruins would be an added bonus. He clearly has the speed to be a top-6 scorer for years to come, but plugging him in on the right side of the first line is probably too much to ask at this point. The Bruins’ best bet is to leave Studnicka on the third line and hope he can develop chemistry with Coyle.
five-on-five scoring has been a problem for the Bruins against Carolina. It was also a problem in last year’s playoffs at times as the Bruins relied on a dominant power play to carry them to the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins need their secondary scoring to find the back of the net, or they are bound to have trouble moving forward in the playoffs. Kase, Bjork, and Studnicka have the potential to provide such scoring. Let’s see if one of them can give the Bruins what they need in order to succeed.