Inside the Numbers on Bruins' 15-game point streak
There had never been a matchup like Thursday night's Lightning-Bruins tilt at TD Garden. It was the first game in NHL history featuring two teams that entered the contest with points in at least 14 straight games (Tampa: 12-0-2, Boston: 10-0-4).
But the potential playoff preview was decidedly one-sided, with the B's outshooting the Lightning 41-21 en route to a dominating 4-1 win. Let's take a closer look at the key stats behind the Bruins' point streak, which stands at 15 games and counting.
A February to Remember
Thursday's smackdown of the Lightning completed a month in which the Bruins collected 24 out of a possible 26 points by going 11-0-2. That's the third time in franchise history that the B's have gone a full calendar month without a regulation loss (minimum eight games played), the first time they've done so since November 2011, and only the third time they've accomplished the feat in the last 75 years.
Not a bad way to kick off the post-ASG portion of their schedule.
1-2 Punch in Net
The Bruins own one of the best 1-2 punches in hockey, and I'm not talking about Zdeno Chara's smackdown of Evander Kane earlier this week. Both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have their own personal point streaks going, showing why the B's tandem has the second-best goals-against average and save percentage in the NHL.
Halak has a 6-game point streak going, with a 4-0-2 record, a 1.59 GAA, and a .946 save percentage over that stretch. And it's been a rough stretch for all the Tuukka haters in town. The Bruins' #1 goalie hasn't lost in regulation since before Christmas, going 13-0-3 with a 1.99 GAA and a .931 save percentage over his last 16 starts. Rask, who had a personal 21-game point streak last season, is only the fourth goalie in NHL history to post multiple point streaks of at least 16 decisions — and he's the first to do so since 1983 (Pete Peeters).
Who's been leading the offense during this impressive stretch of hockey? Look no further than the three forwards who remain from the Bruins' Stanley Cup title team of 2011. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and a rejuvenated David Krejci have each averaged at least a point per game duing this 15-game point streak, with Marchand putting up almost a point and a half per game.
Marchand: 7 goals, 15 assists, +15
Bergeron: 8 goals, 9 assists, +15
Krejci: 5 goals, 10 assists, +5
Remember earlier this year when the Bruins were desperately seeking secondary scoring? Enter Jake DeBrusk.
After going 13 straight games without a goal, DeBrusk has caught fire recently, with seven goals, five assists, and a +12 rating over his last eight games, including a personal streak of five straight games with a goal from February 12-20. In fact, only two players in the league (Chicago's Alex DeBrincat and Florida's Aleksander Barkov) have more goals since Feb. 12 than DeBrusk.
No Pasta, No Problem
Perhaps most impressive about the Bruins' recent run of success has been the fact that they've done so without their leading goal-scorer. Since David Pastrnak went down with a thumb injury on Feb. 10, the B's have picked up points in eight more straight games, and they've even picked up their offense.
The Bruins are averaging 3.75 goals over their last eight games, much higher than the 2.88 goals per game they were putting up before Pastrnak's injury.
Getting Offense from Defense
While the big guns up front have led the offense, one of the more surprising offensive weapons over the last month has been a defenseman.
After scoring just once in his first 27 games, Charlie McAvoy has four during the team's 15-game point streak, including three game-winning goals over the team's last six games, tied for the most in the NHL over that span.
Gotta Beat the Best to Be the Best
It's not like the Bruins have only been feasting on weak competition during their recent run of success.
Boston has gone 7-0-2 vs. teams in playoff position during this streak, including two wins over San Jose (2nd place in the West) and Thursday's dominant victory over Tampa Bay (1st place in the East). The team's run has also included three sets of back-to-backs and a five-game road trip against Western Conference foes, a trip that ended with a shootout loss to a red-hot Blues squad that had won 11 of 12 games coming into that matchup.
It's Been Awhile
As impressive as this 15-game point stretch has been, you don't have to go very far back to find an even longer similar streak. The Bruins picked up points in 18 straight games from December to January of last season.
But let's end this closer look at the numbers behind the streak by putting this run in perspective: The last time the Bruins suffered a regulation loss, a 3-2 decision to the Rangers on Jan. 19, it was the day before the AFC Championship Game.