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Where: TD Garden – Boston, MA.
When: Thursday, April 25, 7 PM EST
How (TV/Radio): NBCSN, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA | WFAN
The Boston Bruins had a respectable offensive game during their regular season. They were 11th overall in goals scored and ninth overall when it came to shots taken. Their shooting percentage ranked 13th and the faceoff percentage was ranked tenth. Their strongest play, however, came on the powerplay, where they finished the regular season third overall.
That powerplay was a very utilized tool in round one for the Bruins. They had an astonishing 43.8 percent success rate against the Toronto Maple Leafs when they had the man advantage. Boston scored 23 goals in round one – second to only the Vegas Golden Knights 25. They also had a 52.2 percent success rate in the faceoff circle through round one of the playoffs.
Columbus was not without their offensive struggles this season, but things picked up for them post-trade deadline with a few key additions such as Matt Duchene. They finished the year 12th in goals scored and 16th in shots. However, their powerplay was the complete opposite of Bostons, ranking 28th in the league.
But things change, and throughout the round against the most dangerous team in the league, the Columbus Blue Jackets were even more impressive on the powerplay than the Bruins, having a 50 percent success rate! They also managed to 19 goals past the best defense in the league in only four games.
The regular season saw some back and forth play from Bostons defensive core. The team allowed the third fewest goals and the sixth fewest shots against. But, the special teams had some issues. The Bruins ranked 30th in the league when it came to taking penalties and were only 16th overall when it came to killing those penalties.
With that said, Boston will have to play some disciplined hockey against a team that scored on 50 percent of their powerplays. They had an 81.3 percent success rate killing penalties against Toronto in the first round. They allowed more goals (19) and more shots on average (32) per game than Columbus but also played three more games than their opponents.
Columbus regular-season defensive stats were a lot more impressive than their offensive ones. The Blue Jackets ranked 11th in goals against and seventh in shots against. The team also ranked second in the league in both penalty killing (85 percent success) and taking the fewest penalty minutes.
Throughout round one, they allowed only eight goals in four games against the most dangerous team imaginable. They also managed to have a, 83.3 percent success rate when killing penalties against the Lightning in their first-round series.
Bostons elite goaltender Tuukka Rask went 27-13-5 during the regular season. He managed a 2.48 goals against average and a .912 save percentage with four shutouts.
His first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs saw Rask pull together a 2.32 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. He played 415 minutes and allowed 16 goals on the 223 shots he faced.
Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had another stellar year – as to be expected from him. His regular season record was 37-24-1 and he managed an incredible nine shutouts. His goals-against average for the season was 2.58 and his save percentage was .913.
Bobrovsky was a star in round one and it seems that his playoff jitters of previous seasons are behind him. Bobrovsky had a first-round goals against average of 2.01 and a save percentage of .932. He was 4-0 in round one and played 239 minutes and should be well rested to take on the Bruins in round two.
Its no surprise that forward Brad Marchand was the stand-out player for the Bruins in round one. Marchand racked up four goals and five assists – five of those nine points coming on the powerplay. He had 23 shots in round one and one game-winning goal. He averaged just over 21 minutes per game.
Matt Duchene was the star for Columbus during round one. Duchene, traded from Ottawa at the trade deadline, had three goals and four assists against Tampa Bay in the first round – giving him a 1.75 points-per-game average. He was plus-5 and had two powerplay points, ten shots, and a 57 percent success rate when it came to taking faceoffs.
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Ryan Bristlon is a Canadian writer currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied print and broadcast journalism at Humber College and has been a lifelong fan of the sport of hockey and the NHL.
Email: [email protected]More info on Ryan Bristlon
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