Jake DeBrusk sat and watched as the Bruins scored one goal Tuesday, a power play tally that brought Boston’s goal total over the last two games to one. Had DeBrusk been in the lineup against the Islanders, it’s likely the Bruins would have still had one goal.
That’s because the Bruins don’t score a lot of goals. Not ones outside of the usual suspects, anyway. The Bruins have two players with at least 10 goals, and I won’t even name them because you know who they are, and who their center (who has nine goals) is. Those three are the only Bruins to have scored more than three goals five-on-five this season.
The Bruins would love to just say they have a Jake DeBrusk problem. They desperately need him to be better, but a team that’s scored one or zero goals in three of its last four games has to know its problems are far deeper than one player.
David Krejci has no goals on the season and was still one of Boston’s top forwards (10 points in 15 games) prior to his injury. As usual, he’s skated with underwhelming linemates, yet Nick Ritchie’s six points in 5-of-5 play through 23 games actually ranks sixth on the team, per Natural Stat Trick.
Charlie Coyle is having a down year. His shooting percentage of 14.7 percent is way above his career average of 10.8, but he isn’t getting pucks on net at nearly the same rate as last season. Craig Smith has been mediocre at best. Sean Kuraly, in a walk year, is struggling to recapture what has made him a strong fourth-liner throughout his Bruins career.
DeBrusk re-entering the lineup and cashing in on Krejci feeds like it’s 2019 would be a wonderful start, but that would only help Boston’s scoring output -- currently 21st in the league -- so much. Similarly, trading for a scorer wouldn’t suddenly fix Boston’s inability to finish. The biggest name currently injured -- Ondrej Kase -- can’t be counted on to be a solution because he hasn’t proven he can be healthy or particularly effective.
This team’s issue would be easily fixed if it were specific and isolated on the roster, but it’s not. Boston is dealing with a bad combination with its forwards: some are underperforming and some need upgrading.
It’s not like the Bruins are losing track meets. They’re banged up on the back end and still defending well enough to play low-scoring, close games. Jeremy Lauzon remains out with a broken hand, while Brandon Carlo has missed the last two games thanks to Tom Wilson’s work. It’s commendable that the B’s have been able to limit their opponents to three goals over nearly three games since Carlo went out, but this would be a time for the offense to overachieve and lessen the burden for a banged-up blue line.
The trade deadline is nearly a month away. If the Bruins -- currently on pace for the third of four playoff spots in their division going by points per game -- really think they can be a Cup contender, they’re going to need to supplement their roster and get more out of the guys already on it.