We continue our 5 game grading with games 6-10 from the Boston Bruins schedule. We are harsh but fair graders, and spelling always counts. Lets see who improved, who regressed and who might get sent back a grade.
Patrice Bergeron: Captain Bruin improved his play over the last 5 games, in large part due to the return of Pastrnak. Saw on increase in icetime, due to the need for the Bruins to come from behind. 3 goals and 6 assists and and a mainstay on the PP and PK. Never seems to make a mistake.
GRADE: Games 1-5: A- Games 6-10: A
Brad Marchand: Surprisingly, Marchand has gone 10 games with just 2 penalty minutes. He is not playing with as much bite as we are used to seeing, but that could be due to the close nature of most Bruins games, and the need to battle back from 2 and 3 goals behind. No time for shenanigans. Legging well over 20 minutes some nights, 3 goals and 4 assists in the last 5, and playing in EVERY high leverage situation. We put him in the early MVP conversation.
GRADE: Games 1-5: A Games 6-10: A
David Pastrnak: Welcome back! Didn’t waste ANY time getting right back at in his 3 games. 5 goals and 2 assists (including a hat trick). He has been all over the ice and a danger pretty much every time he touches the puck. 19 shots on goal and firing on all cylinders. The best line in hockey is back!
GRADE: Games 6-10: A+
Jake DeBrusk: Only played 3:30 seconds of game 6 and has not played since. No chance to improve on a C- start.
GRADE: Games 1-5: C-. Games 6-10: NA
DAVID KREJCI: Krejci played games 6 to 10 without Kase or Debrusk and a mixture of players on his wings. Things have gotten a bit more stable on the back end of the five games as he plays more consistently with Ritchie and Smith. Often QBs the powerplay to perfection but secondary 5 v 5 scoring still an issue. If he doesn’t find a way to get the 2nd line working, nobody will.
GRADE: Games 1-5: B- Games 6-10: B-
NICK RITCHIE: Ritchie has found a level and a big role with this years Bruins team. He seen a steady increase in minutes the last 5 games and has been a great force in front of the net on the PP with another 3 points. Can be a bit of a liability on the defensive end and has not been as physical as you would think, but overall, still playing FAR better than anyone could think and is etched into a middle 6 role role for the foreseeable future.
GRADE: Games 1-5: A Games 6-10: B+
JACK STUDNICKA: Only played games 6 and 7 before being sidelined with a lower body injury. Just 12:30 TOI average for those 2 games and mostly invisible with only 2 shots and 1 hit on the scoresheet. Needs to find his role and be better, or he will find himself on the taxi squad or even back in Providence.
GRADE: Games 1-5: C+ Games 6-10: C-
Charlie Coyle: No Bruin has been more effected by the injuries up front than Coyle. Playing with Frederic, Wagner, Bjork or Kuraly on many nights ( those players have combined for 2 goals and 4 assists ALL YEAR) the offence is just not there. He also looks sluggish at times and not at his best yet. Just one assist in the last 5 and a -3. Need to get this horse running.
GRADE: Games 1-5: B- Games 6-10: C-
CRAIG SMITH: Our first full 5 game look at Smith and overall, we like what we see. Plays hard and never sees a shot he doesn’t like. (18 shots last 5). Seems to be around the puck and in the play but just 2 goals and zero assists to show for his efforts. Consistent line mates will help.
GRADE: Games 1-5: B Games 6-10: B
ANDERS BJORK: Didn’t like the D grade in the 1st five and came out skating on the 4th line for the last 5. Playing more physical and with more urgency, knowing his job is far from secure. Got on the sheet with a couple of assists and is using the body more. Embracing his new 4th line role, even though it might not be his best fit long term.
GRADE: Games 1-5: D Games 6-10: B-
SEAN KURALY: The heartbeat of the 4th line, has also seen a mixture of bodies with Fredric seeing more 3rd line minutes. High energy and never absent from the boxscore, with hits and blocks. 1 goal and 1 assist on the back 5 and no silly penalties.
GRADE: Grade games 1-5: B Grade Games 6-10: B-
CHRIS WAGNER: Like Kuraly, he brings it every night. Has seen some shifts on line 3 and has 1 goal and 1 assist over 5. Small regression in play, but finding a 4th line groove is hard without consistency.
GRADE: Games 1-5: B Games 6-10: B-
TRENT FREDERIC: His impressive start to the season has fizzled out as of late, although he remains fearless and in opponents face for the limited ice time he will get. Fought Tom Wilson to draw that gave the Bruins a boost to comeback in game 9. Growing pains are expected.
GRADE: Games 1-5:A Games 6-10: B-
CHARLIE McAVOY: Continues to lead this defensive unit in every facet of the game. 1 goal and 7 assists and points in each of the 5 games. Has seen time on PP1, and often on PP2, but his real work is in being physical and playing 24+ minutes every night. An early Norris trophy contender, still only 23.
GRADE: Games 1-5:B+ Games 6-10: A
BRANDON CARLO: His parents must have read his report card and did not like the C. Carlo has hit the books and improved his game and his TOI has shot up dramatically. A +4 with a goal (game winning goal!) and an assist, he is getting up into the play a bit more. A nice step forward.
GRADE: Games 1-5: C Games 6-10: B
MATT GRZELCYK: Has not played since game 4.
GRADE: Games 1-5: C- Games 6-10: NA
Kevan Miller: Continues to be a pleasant and much needed surprise for the Bruins through 10 games. What you see is what you are going to get. A huge engine that will go-go-go, play physical, with good speed. Has seen his share of TOI during 3 v 3 overtime, which is surprising.
GRADE: Games 1-5: B Games 6-10: B
JEREMY LAUZON: Like Miller, Lauzon continues to surprise with his solid play on defence, obviously helped by being paired with McAvoy. Still, for someone who bounced between NHL and AHL (and mostly AHL) for his career, logging 20+ minutes on the top pair of one of the best teams in hockey is impressive. Love his physical game, leading the Bruins with 28 hits so far. Still learning and you see some of those mistakes. Training wheels are starting to come off in the offence.
GRADE: Games 1-5: B Games 6-10: B+
JAKUB ZBORIL: The new penny shine became a bit tarnished during the 2nd 5 games compared to the first 5. His TOI has slipped because of some poor defensive play, but he still remains a smooth skater with great puck handling skills who gets some looks on the PP2. He will need to clean things up if he wants to remain a fixture and keep Clifton out of the rotation. Internal competition is good.
GRADE: Games 1-5: A Games 6-10: C
CONNOR CLIFTON: Cliffy hockey is back! After playing only 1 game in the 1st 5, an injury to Grizz gave Clifton the first shot and he has done a very good job with his opportunity. He is a high energy player who tries to hit everything that moves. He has 21 hits in 5 games, good for 3rd on the Bruins despite playing half as much. There will be decisions to make coming up for Cassidy.
GRADE: Games 1-5: NA Games 6-10: B
TUUKKA RASK: We don’t think we have seen peak Tuukka Rask yet this year, yet he still is playing at a very high level. His 3 starts in the last 5 saw 3 overtime games, and the Bruins came out 2-1, thanks to a defensive blunder allowing Ovechkin to waltz up the middle and rip a frozen piss rocket. A couple softer goals in our opinion, and he would be the first to tell you, he can do better.
GRADE: Games 1-5: A- Games 6-10: B+
JAROSLAV HALAK: Jaro has been stellar as usual in relief to Rask, getting wins in both of his starts. Didn’t look his best in his Caps game on the long point shots, but we’ve seen enough of Halak to know you will get stellar play mixed in with the occasional softy. Thankfully those are rare. Still one of the top backups in the NHL, easily.
GRADE: Games 1-5: A Games 6-10: A-
We will give out more grades after the next five games that see the Bruins play:
January 26th: Pittsburgh Penguins
January 28th: Pittsburgh Penguins
January 30th: @Washington Capitals
February 1st: @Washington Capitals
February 3rd: @ Philadelphia Flyers