By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
For as much as the 4-3 overtime loss against the Lightning at TD Garden in a shootout exposed the glaringly obvious lack of depth the Bruins have with getting offensive production from any other line than what is proving to be the best in the NHL again this season – of course, I’m referring to the otherworldly trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak – the same final score against the Leafs in Toronto in OT on Saturday night, should give fans of the Black and Gold reassurance that they heart they have shown under head coach Bruce Cassidy is beating as strong as ever.
Cassidy’s club fell behind by two goals early in the first period and without second line center David Krejci – who was back in Boston nursing an undisclosed upper body injury, leaving the B’s even more strapped in providing secondary scoring – once again showed if their bench boss has instilled anything in them, it is resiliency.
“Give the guys credit, we came back from 2-0 on the road,” said last year’s NHL Coach of the Year. “We scored late to tie it up against a team that generally doesn’t give up a lot of leads.
“So, there’s a lot of positives in our game.”
It would be hard to argue what the man his players call “Butch” had to say after their second consecutive loss against their biggest rivals in the Atlantic Division.
It is equally difficult not to argue against the obvious inequities that exist with the Bruins offense.
Of the 59 points that the team as accumulated through the first eight games of the season, 27 have come on the man advantage. Of those 27, 21 have come from Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak, and Torey Krug.
Yet even more sobering stats when it comes to the unsustainable pace the B’s offensive production so far is that of the 22 goals they have scored, 13 have come from Pastrnak (9) and Marchand (4), and only Bergeron and Danton Heinen have lit the lamp more than once this season.
Not to mention, of the 21 players who have dressed in games this season, 12 of them are sporting donuts in the “G” section of the statistics column.
Call me crazy, but that doesn’t seem like a recipe for success in a division that boasts the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup, a team that has taken yours to a 7th Game each of the last two Aprils and a seemingly burgeoning bunch in Buffalo with the current first place Sabres.
While the hardest thing to establish for an organization – and a head coach, for that matter – might be building character within a club, there is some point when talent trumps even the best of those who bring that to the table and little more.
There is plenty of time remaining for the Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to add the scoring that Cassidy’s team is obviously lacking. And given his time in the front office on Causeway Street thus far, B’s fans should be optimistic he will.
Nevertheless, it is fair to say that the head coach has done his job with getting the most out of the elite – if not quickly shrinking core he has been given – it is now up to the Bruins brass to supply the talent he is lacking to make it back to the Final next spring.