May 3, 2012

The 50 most interesting stats from the '11-12 Bruins season

By Jesse Connolly

Some of them you will already know well, while others will likely come as a complete surprise. Whatever the case may be, after spending the entire day sifting through stats, here are the 50 most interesting ones I've come across from the Bruins' 2011-12 season.

Oh, happy day!

The Bruins have stunk in matinees for what seems like forever, but not everyone was a dud in day games:

1. Tyler Seguin had 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in 17 afternoon tilts. Brad Marchand had 14 points in 17 day games and was plus-8. Tuukka Rask was 0-1-2 despite having a 1.93 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in matinees.

2. On the flip side, Zdeno Chara had just one goal in 17 day games this season. Tim Thomas went 6-7-0 in 13 matinees with a woeful .899 save percentage. Shawn Thornton had one point in 17 contests and was minus-5.

Soup’s cold 

3. After beginning the year with six goals in his first 44 games before the All-Star break, Greg Campbell had just two goals in his last 34 regular season contests.

4. In addition to his drop-off in production, he was plus-8 before the break and minus-11 after it.

5. Counting the playoffs, he ended the year riding a 16-game goal drought.

Count on Patrice

6. Patrice Bergeron’s longest point drought all season was three games. It happened twice.

7. Bergeron’s best day of the week was Saturday in 2011-12. He had 7-18-25 and a plus-21 rating in 24 games.

Let’s get it started

8. The Bruins scored first in 42 of their 82 games in 2010-11. In 2011-12, they scored first 36 times.

9. Boston ranked eighth in the NHL with a .400 win percentage (16-19-5) when trailing first last season. In going 18-24-4 this year, their .391 win percentage also ranked eighth.

10. The B’s .714 win percentage (30-6-6) when scoring first in 2010-11 ranked 13th in the league. This year they held the No. 1 spot with a .861 win percentage, going 31-5-0 when scoring the first goal.

Kelly keeps it clean 

Chris Kelly scored a career-high 20 goals for Boston. (Getty Images)

11. In his final 25 regular season games, Chris Kelly was assessed just one minor penalty. He shot the puck over the glass with 17 seconds left in Boston’s 5-4 win over Toronto on March 6.

12. Kelly finished tied for third in the NHL with Zdeno Chara at plus-33. In his previous three seasons, he was a combined minus-30. His career rating now stands at plus-53.

13. In 244 games from 2008 to 2011, Kelly had six game-winning goals. The 31-year-old center had six in 82 contests for Boston in 2011-12.

Horty would’ve helped

14. In their final 36 games of the regular season, all without Nathan Horton, the Bruins averaged 2.80 goals per game. In the 46 games prior to his concussion, the B’s were averaging 3.45 goals per game.

15. In February, sans their longtime linemate in Horton, Milan Lucic had 3-2-5 totals in 13 games while David Krejci slumped big time with 2-0-2 totals in 13 contests.

16. Prior to his season-ending injury, Horton had been heating up. He had eight goals in the previous ten games before being felled against the Flyers.

Paille’s pace slowed

17. Fourth-line winger Danny Paille had eight goals through 39 games. In his final 30 regular season tilts, he tallied just once.

18. After the All-Star break, Paille posted a line of 1-1-2 and was minus-10 in 26 games. He was plus-5 with 13 points through his first 43 games.

Weak competition

19. The other four teams in the Northeast Division (Ottawa, Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal) combined for just 339 points – an average of a little over 84 per squad – this past season. That’s their lowest combined total since the league switched to the current six-division format for the 1998-99 season.

20. Boston went an astonishing 19-4-1 against its competitors in the Northeast Division in 2011-12. They were 11-8-5 last year and 13-8-3 in 2009-10.

Few scores for Corvo 

Half of Joe Corvo's four goals this season came in a game in Columbus in December. (Getty Images)

21. Joe Corvo was hailed as the solution to Boston’s power-play woes coming into the season. In his last four seasons, the blueliner averaged 5.75 power-play goals a year. He had one in 75 games for the B’s.

22. Counting the playoffs, Corvo has three goals in 35 career games against the Bruins. That’s almost as many as the four he scored for them in 80 total games this season.

Ference stays healthy

23. Not counting the playoffs, Andy Ference played in 70-plus games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in five years. He played in all 82 games for Calgary in 2005-06 and suited up for 80 contests for the Flames and Bruins the following year.

24. Ference set a career-high with six goals in 72 games this season for Boston. Coming into the year, he had six goals in his first 253 games with the Black and Gold.

Hitting the century mark

25. The Bruins notched 100-plus points as a team for the third time in the last four seasons, finishing the year with 102 (49-29-4). They’re one of eight teams with three 100-plus point seasons in the last four years. Vancouver and Detroit are the only ones to top that mark in each of the four years.

26. Boston has now had 20 seasons of 100-plus points in franchise history. Claude Julien has been behind the bench for three of them. Only Don Cherry, who did it four times, has cracked the 100-point plateau in more seasons in team history.

27. Boston has racked up 412 points during those four seasons. Only the Penguins (414) and Capitals (428) have more during that time among Eastern Conference clubs.

Rolston bring back memories

28. How’s this for a coincidence? In Brian Rolston’s final playoff appearance in his first stint with the Bruins (against Montreal), Boston lost a seven-game, opening-round series. Rolston’s lone goal that postseason came in Game 3 of that series. This year, the B’s also lost a seven-game, first-round series. Rolston’s only goal came – you guessed it – in Game 3.

29. Both Rolston and Mike Mottau made their Bruins debut on Feb. 28. That officially made Boston the third squad they’d been teammates on in less than two years. The two played together with the Devils from 2008-10 and both began the 2011-12 season with the Islanders before being traded to the B’s.

Sauve gets cut short

30. In the span of two weeks, the Bruins recalled forward Max Sauve four times. Four is greater than the number of full minutes Sauve played all season with Boston. In his NHL debut on March 11 in Pittsburgh, the winger played just 3:43 before exiting the game with a hip injury. He was subsequently returned to Providence a few days later.

Goalies’ reign comes to a close 

Tuukka Rask now owns a .500 record in the last two seasons combined, during which he's gone 22-22-5. (Getty Images)

31. For the first time since 2007-08, a Bruin didn’t finish as the league leader in both goals-against average and save percentage. Tim Thomas held that distinction in 2008-09 and 2010-11, while Tuukka Rask finished as the top dog in both categories in 2009-10. Brian Elliott ran away with the lead this year with a 1.56 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

32. Rask ended the season riding a seven-game winless streak. After starting out 0-3-0, the Finnish netminder went on an 11-1-1 run before embarking on an 0-4-2 skid.

33. However, an overworked Thomas definitely could’ve used Rask to spot him during a busy month of March. The now 38-year-old played in 15 games, during which he had a save percentage of .884 – his lowest of any month during the season.

Krejci a man of highs and lows

34. David Krejci notched 23 goals this season for the B’s, a career-high and a big improvement over the 13 he had in 2010-11.

35. What stood our more, though, was his minus-5 rating, a pretty alarmingly bad stat for a guy who picked up 51 of his 62 points at even-strength and played for the team with the best goal differential in the NHL.

Consistency eludes Caron

36. Jordan Caron played like a man possessed in early March, racking up eight points (four goals, four assists) during a red-hot six-game stretch. But the 21-year-old winger did virtually nothing outside of that short burst of production. Counting the playoffs (two games), Caron chipped in just seven points in the other 44 games he played in.

37. Furthermore, during the six-game hot streak he was plus-8. In the other 44 games he was minus-9.

Thornton always throwing down

38. Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves 20 times this season, tying Rangers forward Brandon Prust for the league lead in fighting majors.

39. That puts Thornton up to 84 fights in 371 regular season games during his five years in Boston.

Lucic a letdown in playoffs

40. Milan Lucic followed up his 30-goal season with 26 this past year for the B’s. The last Bruin to have back-to-back, 25-plus goal seasons was Marco Sturm, who tallied 27 times in both 2006-07 and 2007-08.

41. On the downside, Lucic once again failed to have a big impact come playoff time, posting a line of 0-3-3 in seven games against the Caps. After proving himself to be tremendously clutch in his first three trips to the postseason, during which he had a line of 10-10-20 in 30 games, Lucic has scored just five goals in last 32 playoff contests.

Seguin’s second-year surge 

Tyler Seguin had an assist and three shots on goal in 15:15 of ice time at the 2012 All-Star Game. (Getty Images)

42. Tyler Seguin increased his point total by 45, jumping from 22 as a rookie to 67 this year. Only two players who played in multiple games last year (sorry, Adam Henrique) made a bigger leap. Evgeni Malkin went from 37 points to 109, though he only played in 43 games last year. Zach Parise jumped from six points to 69, though he only played in 13 games last season for New Jersey.

43. Since 1969 — when the NHL changed the format of the All-Star Game, no longer including the defending champions as one of the participating squads — Seguin is only the second player to win the Cup and earn an All-Star nod before turning 20. Jaromir Jagr won the Stanley Cup as a rookie with the Penguins in 1991 and played in the All-Star Game the following year — four weeks before his 20th birthday.

44. With 67 points, Seguin ended the season as the youngest leading scorer in Bruins’ history at 20 years, two months and seven days of age. Patrice Bergeron held the previous record at 20 years, eight months and 22 days when he led the club with 73 points in 2005-06.

The big finale

45. In each of their last six trips to the playoffs, the Bruins have ended their season with a Game 7. They’re 1-5 overall, having lost at home to Montreal in 2004, in Montreal in 2008, at home in 2009 to Carolina, at home to Philadelphia in 2010 and at home against Washington in 2012. Their lone win, of course, came on June 15, 2011 in the Stanley Cup finals in Vancouver.

46. Including the playoffs, the Bruins have played in 196 games over the past two seasons. That’s their highest total in back-to-back seasons since 1989-90 and 1990-91, when Boston played in a combined 200 games on the nose thanks to a run to the Stanley Cup finals in 1990 and a playoff push that saw them reach the sixth game of the conference finals against Pittsburgh in 1991.

47. The Bruins went 2-for-23 (8.7%) on the power play this postseason, bringing their total in the last two playoffs to 12-for-111, good for a woeful 10.8 percent success rate.

48. The 2011-12 season marked the third-straight year that no Bruin topped the 70-point mark. Seguin led this year’s squad with 67 points, Lucic and Krejci tied for the team lead with 62 in 2010-11, and Bergeron and Krejci tied with a team-high 52 points in 2009-10. That means, on average, the Bruins’ leading scorer has finished the season with 60.33 points over the last three years.

49. Other than Marc Savard, who had seasons of 96, 78 and 88 points in his first three full seasons in Boston, only one player has been able to top the 70-point mark since the lockout: Bergeron. He had 73 in 2005-06 and 70 in 2006-07.

50. Following their six Stanley Cup victories in franchise history, the Bruins have only made it back to the finals on one occasion, doing so in 1930 after winning it all in 1929.

BONUS STAT! Want to know what’s far crazier than the previous stat (in my attempt to end this blog with a thunderous bang)? Since the 1930 postseason, in which they made it back to the finals, the Bruins playoff exits the year after winning the Cup read as follows:

1940: Lost in NHL semifinals

1942: Lost in NHL semifinals

1971: Lost in NHL quarterfinals

1973: Lost in NHL quarterfinals

2012: Lost in NHL quarterfinals

What does it all mean? In their last five seasons that followed Cup wins, the Bruins have won just one playoff series. They defeated Chicago two games to one in the quarterfinals of the 1942 playoffs. In every other post-championship season, they’ve bowed out in the first round.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.