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31 in 31

Boston Bruins key statistics

Top line, shot attempts on special teams could determine success this season

by Rob Vollman / Correspondent is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Boston Bruins.


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1. Patrice Bergeron's top line

Based on shot-based metrics, the Boston Bruins' top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak was the best in the NHL last season.

The Bruins outshot opponents 1,208-769 with Bergeron on the ice at 5-on-5 for a League-leading SAT of plus-439. Marchand ranked second (plus-434), and Pastrnak ranked sixth (plus-303).

The Bruins were responsible for 61.1 percent of all on-ice shot attempts when Bergeron was on the ice at 5-on-5, first among those who played at least 20 games. That's an increase of 8.8 percent over Boston's share when he wasn't on the ice (52.3 percent).

Video: BOS@OTT, Gm2: Bergeron tips home a PPG


2. Special teams shot differential

The Bruins led the NHL with a special teams index (STI) of 107.4, which is calculated as the sum of their power-play percentage (21.7 percent) and penalty-killing percentage (85.7). That is their best STI since the shortened 1994-95 season (108.7) and best over a full season since 1975-76 (110.4).

The Bruins' underlying shot-based metrics confirm their success wasn't a result of hot shooting, hot goaltending or a few lucky bounces, but of consistently generating higher shot volumes on special teams than their opponent. 

Boston averaged 106.2 shot attempts per 60 minutes on the power play and allowed 88.0 when killing penalties, each sixth in the NHL, according to the data at Hockey Analysis. The difference of plus-18.2 ranked fifth.

Video: OTT@BOS: Krug makes a slick move, nets PPG


3. Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug

Based on modern player-usage metrics, Chara and Krug are excellent examples of the different ways teams deploy their top defensemen.

Chara is the shutdown defenseman used to kill penalties, play in the defensive zone and take on top opponents. Over the four seasons they have been teammates, Chara has started 45 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone and ranked third among NHL defensemen with an average of 3:20 shorthanded per game. His top opponents included the best scorers on rival teams: Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers (138:28), Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings (130:37), Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (127:26), Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens (118:08), and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (114:41), according to the data at Hockey Analysis.

Krug is used in a more offensive-minded role. He has a zone-start percentage of 59.28 percent and averages 2:55 per game on the power play. His top opponents have been two-way, second-line players: Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs (81:57), Valtteri Filppula of the Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers (76:27), Tomas Plekanec of the Canadiens (76:07), Tyler Johnson of the Lightning (75:16), and Jussi Jokinen (73:19), who last season played for the Florida Panthers.

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