Not gonna lie, going on twitter and seeing all these injuries on the Bruins roster right now makes me sad.
The good news is that the Bruins record currently is better than the record at this time last year!
However, no playoff spot is safe until clinched, so we Bruins fans still have a good bit of time to find out if we will be yelling at our TV screens come mid-April.
At the beginning of the season, the Bruins weren’t in the talks for a Stanley Cup. Out of the first 17 games of the season, only 6 games were won. SIX GAMES. And now, the Bruins have exceeded expectations (like the Celtics have also).
The Bruins are flourishing, even with suspensions and injuries.
But bad news keeps on coming for the Bruins organization during our decent season.
This still has me wondering, how would the lineup be with Charlie McAvoy and Patrice Bergeron back in?
Charlie McAvoy has been out since the injury he sustained during the March 3rd game versus the Montreal Canadiens. According to the team, he is out for around 4 weeks because of a sprained MCL in his knee. The injury was courtesy of Brandon Gallagher causing McAvoy to trip on his stick awkwardly. He only played 37 seconds of the game.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, Patrice Bergeron broke his foot at the end of February. He will (luckily) be re-evaluated next week. At the time of Bergy’s injury, he was the team’s leading goal scorer with 27 goals, and an average TOI of 19:24.
If I wrote this any earlier, I would have to add Bruins Goaltender Tuukka Rask, but he is currently playing in the Boston/Philadelphia game (that I am now watching). Having one less injury on the roster makes me very delighted.
Now, time to figure out what these injuries really mean:
With McAvoy out, Brandon Carlo was slotted in a pair with Zdeno Chara. This pair worked well last year (as Chara tends to work well with a young, new player on his pair). However, the pair struggled vs. Detroit. Chara led the team in ice time that night but did not register a hit or a blocked shot. Carlo was on the ice for all three Detroit goals that night.
If McAvoy were back in, McAvoy would be paired again with Chara, and Carlo would be (in my honest opinion) on the second pairing with Torey Krug. This season, McAvoy has put up a veteran amount of minutes in his rookie season, with 22:07 TOI/game, 7 goals, 25 assists, and a +26 average. McAvoy averages 0.54 points per game. McAvoy’s has a Corsi percentage of 55.6, and his relative Corsi is a 4.3 (for these stats I use Hockey Reference to find the necessary info, and then “plug n’ chug” in the magically Corsi equation).
BUT if all goes well, McAvoy hopes to be back in game action for the playoffs next month.
As for Bergeron, he is expected to be out for at least two weeks. His center spot on the first line with Pastrnak and Marchand is being filled by Riley Nash, who is having a good season. While Bergeron has played on the PP and PK units, those spots on those units are not expected to be filled by Nash. But, it hurts to say that no one player in the lineup can replace Bergeron’s all-star production. However, David Backes took Bergeron’s spot at the Bruin 8-4 win vs. Pittsburgh. Backes is currently serving a three-game suspension for a hit on Frans Nielsen of Detroit.
I think we all know where Bergeron would be in the lineup if he weren’t injured, on a line with Marchand and Pastrnak. Like mentioned before, Bergeron was the team’s leading goal scorer at the time of his injury (Brad Marchand has now taken that spot), was second in forwards for TOI/game with 19:24 and lead the forwards with the amount of shift per game with 24.6 shifts (on average).
As much as a fan hates seeing their favorite player injured, it hurts to say that it is part of the playoff push. But having a deep lineup, an excellent coaching staff, and the best fanbase in all of hockey allows for teams (like the Bruins) to make that final push towards the cup.
As always, fear the bear (and happy playoff push!)