The Boston Bruins were incredibly consistent last season, never losing more than three games in a row and winning more than four in a row only twice. This played a big role in the team basically locking their playoff spot up by February, much like the other seven teams in the Eastern conference in 2021-22. The fact that the Bruins did it in a wild card spot says a lot about how far apart the good and bad teams were in the East that season.
However, when it came to deciding where the top four in the Atlantic division finished, the Bruins were a bit behind the other three teams. The Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs dominated in the regular season, and while the seeding between the Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning came down to the final game, the Bolts took over in the playoffs.
A lot of that came down to Boston’s center depth, where, beyond Patrice Bergeron (who had an incredible defensive season capturing his fifth Selke Trophy), there were no other options for the top six. It led to the team breaking up ‘The Perfection Line’ of Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak, and throwing Pastrnak with Taylor Hall on the second line to compensate for the lack of a strong center. Health also played a role in the team just not feeling quite themselves, with only Charlie Coyle playing all 82 games, along with what we now know about the falling out between head coach Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins locker room.
They didn’t address the hole in the top six at the deadline, and instead opted to improve an already strong blueline by trading for Hampus Lindholm, which proved to be costly in the playoffs with their hard-fought seven game series against the Carolina Hurricanes. They were a tough out for the Canes, but they just couldn’t quite match up with them in the end, even when Carolina was without its starting goaltender Frederik Andersen.
KEY ADDITIONS & DEPARTURES
- David Krejci, C
- Pavel Zacha, C
- Keith Kinkaid, G
- Vinni Lettieri, C
- Connor Carrick, D
- Erik Haula, C (NJ)
- Curtis Lazar, C (Van)
- Anton Blidh, LW (Col)
- Josh Brown, D (Ari)
As mentioned before, the Bruins had a couple holes in their top six, which led to mediocre offensive numbers throughout the season, including ranking 15th in the league in goals for per game with 3.09, 11th in 5-on-5 expected goals per 60 minutes, and the 15th ranked power play at 21.2 percent. They had some strong seasons from their big stars, with 80 points in 70 games from Marchand, 77 in 72 from Pastrnak, 65 in 73 from Bergeron, and 61 in 81 for Hall, but beyond that, they just had three 40-point scorers and one 30-point scorer up front.