Can the Bruins lowly offense bring success in the playoffs?
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I know it’s tough to do, but it’s something that is key to winning games that the Boston Bruins are having major problems actually doing: scoring goals. The Bruins are dead last in the NHL in goals scored per game, and somehow still find themselves in position to make the playoffs. Heck, they’re actually in a playoff spot right now.
Even if they are able to hold onto a playoff position, what’s the chance they are going to be successful in the playoffs? Has any team recently been able to actually have success in the playoffs, even if they were in the bottom five in the NHL is scoring? The answer will not surprise you at all.
History is not on Boston’s side.
I only took a look at the scoring stats for playoff teams since the lockout, since that’s when the NHL changed the rules up to make scoring so much better.
There’s actually been a surprisingly high number of teams able to make the playoffs with a bottom-five offense; the 05-06 Calgary Flames, the 06-07 New Jersey Devils, the 07-08 Devils and Anaheim Ducks, and the 08-09 New York Rangers. All of these teams made it to the playoffs with incredibly sub-par offenses; the Flames in 2006 were even division winners. None of these were dead least in offense, however.
Yet only the Devils in 2006-07 were able to actually get out of the first round; they promptly lost in the second round, and were dominated by the Ottawa Senators.
Defense alone will not win championships.
The old adage, especially in football but even in hockey from ten years ago, was that great defense and goaltending could carry you to a championship. The Devils alone are proof that this does not work any more in today’s NHL. They have the great Martin Brodeur and the world’s stingiest defensive system; even they could not muster much of a fight without the ability to put the puck in the net.
Every team, for the most part, that is in the playoffs will have good-to-great goaltending; it’s the ability to overcome your opponent’s defense and goaltending that drives teams on to the next round. Goals are at a premium once the playoffs start, and teams need the ability to actually put points on the scoreboard to even have a shot at advancing.
So now what?
The Bruins have more problems right now then just an inability to score; they have no fight, no motivation and supposedly their locker room is falling apart. Perhaps the offense is the least of their worries -- although I’m pretty certain it’s a major concern -- as they try to get their team to actually start playing together again.
The Marc Savard injury is painful for this team to bear, but fans cannot blame his absence for the lack of offense; Boston couldn’t score to save their life long before he was lost for, most likely, the season.
The Bruins have to actually make the playoffs first and that’s a sticky situation at best at this point. Could they have success once they get there, even with Tuukka Rask playing out of his mind? The history books -- well, the recent ones -- say no.