As the hockey season is in full swing there have been some surprise teams. The Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers have surprised everyone in a good way. On the other hand, the Vancouver Canucks surprised everyone in the wrong way. Another team that has surprised the hockey world is your 2022-23 Boston Bruins.
Boston Bruins Off To A Hot Start
Nobody knew what to make of this Boston Bruins team. During the off-season, the team went from dead in the water to the band being back together. Once Bergeron and Krejci signed one-year deals all signs point to this team contending once again. The goal to begin the year is to tread water and this 2022-23 Boston Bruins team has done just that. They are off to a hot start and this is without star winger Brad Marchand and franchise defensemen Charlie McAvoy. Here is how they are accomplishing this.
Even Strength Play
Even though the team is without critical members of their lineup, they are playing a dominant brand of hockey. The goal of treading water while the injured players return has been going well. The group currently has a 5-1 record and is atop the league standings. One reason for their success is their play at even strength. The Bruins have the fourth-best Corsi For Percentage (54.88), the third-most shots for (160), and the third-best xGF% (60.32). In addition to that, the Bruins have the ninth-best GF% with 58.06. Only four Bruins skaters have less than 50% CF. Safe to say the lineup has been balanced and good.
One area the Bruins have become dangerous in is the high-danger areas. As a team, they’ve generated the second most chances (67), and have a high danger Corsi for percentage of 63.81. The team has been attacking more in that area and as a result, leads the league with 12 high-danger goals. Boston has been dangerous, and despite being without Brad Marchand, they lead the league in even-strength goals (18). Not only has the team been a good possession team, but they have also been generating their chances. In addition, they have cashed in on those chances, which shows in their victories. Having the core is great, but also, the contributions come from everywhere.
All statistics come from Natural Stat Trick
Contributions From Everywhere
This 2022-23 Boston Bruins team has a different feel to them in the lineup. The Boston Bruins have looked good to begin the year. Through six games, they have defied the odds and have played better than everyone has expected them to. Overall the Bruins average 4.33 goals per game played. And who can they thank for that? Everyone. The Boston Bruins are getting contributions throughout the lineup.
Everyone that is a regular in the lineup has at least one point. The only pointless players are Brandon Carlo, Tomas Nosek, Jack Studnicka, and Jakub Zboril. Very comforting to see as depth scoring was an issue in years past. To start the season that has not been the case.
Leading the charge for the Boston attack is superstar winger David Pastrnak. He currently leads the team in points (10) and goals (four). The Bruins’ top six have followed suit as Patrice Bergeron (six points), David Krejci (seven points), Jake DeBrusk and Taylor Hall (five points). But the big key is the production in the bottom half of the lineup.
AJ Greer proved his pre-season play was no fluke and had five points. Pavel Zacha (four), Charlie Coyle (three), and to surprise the world, Nick Foligno has four points. Foligno has already surpassed his goal totals from last year in just six games. Trent Frederic and Craig Smith each have two points. The point is contributions are coming from everywhere.
The Bottom Six Making Their Impact
The Bruins’ top six are in the top fifteen in xGF%. But this is to focus on the bottom six of the lineup. To illustrate; the line of Coyle, Frederic, and Greer has spent over 20 minutes together. As a line, they generate 60.77 GF%, 50.93 xGF%, and 48.98 CF%. The best part is as a line they average 8.16 GF/60 minutes and have three goals as a line.
The Fourth line has also been a bright spot. The line of Lauko, Nosek, and Foligno has been solid for the team. The team ranks 7th among offensive lines in xGF% with 70%. They are getting their looks as they have generated 12 scoring chances and have an HDCF% of 61.54.
The production has been there, and you’re seeing a resurgence with certain players. Getting this production has been massive, and if it can stay consistent throughout the year, Boston will give the team trouble.
It’s two different stories for the Bruins’ netminders. But getting the goaltending they have gotten so far is a reason why they have the record they do. The Bruins rank 23rd in the league in team save percentage (90.15), and it can be better, but either way, it has been good in the net for the Bruins.
Linus Ullmark has been stellar for the Boston Bruins. He currently ranks 15th in the league in goals saved above expected (1.4). On top of that, he has a 4-0 record and has not allowed more than three goals in his starts. Entering the upcoming game on Tuesday night, he is rocking 2.23 goals against average, and a .923 save percentage. He has played as expected in the medium and low danger areas and should be looking to improve his .750 save percentage in the HD area of the ice. It is clear he is the team’s number one right now and is playing that way.
This season has not gone exactly the way Swayman has hoped for. He has had two starts and owns a 1-1 record. His start against Arizona went well, but he still posted a .875 save percentage. Swayman had the start to forget against the Ottawa Senators as he allowed six goals and finished with a subpar .760 save percentage.
Lowest Goals Saved Above Expected – October 22 pic.twitter.com/o39IrWGVXE
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 22, 2022
Going into the week, he owns a 5.40 goals-against average and a .816 save percentage. He will be looking to regain last year’s form, which saw him rock a .945 save percentage and 2.41 goals against average.
The 2022-23 Boston Bruins are continuing to surprise everyone. Being down Marchand and McAvoy is no easy feat to conquer, but they have. Between their even-strength play, contributions from everyone, and solid goaltending in the net this team is treading water nicely. Reinforcements are on the way; when they arrive, the Bruins will be in better shape than they already are. New head coach Jim Montgomery has the team firing on all cylinders and it’s paying dividends early.
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