Despite still feeling as if the season just began, the Bruins’ 2014-15 campaign is already one-fourth in the books, as the B’s played their 20th game on Tuesday when they hosted the St. Louis Blues.
There’s no question that the Bruins underachieved to start the year – going 6-6 through October – but looking at how this team has fared through 20 compared to last season, they’re not far off.
After playing 20 games, the Bruins are 12-8-0, good for 24 points, currently sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division, five points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the top spot.
In 2013-14, the Bruins held a record of 13-6-1 through 20 games, just three points higher than this season’s squad and one point behind Tampa Bay for the division lead. They would then go 41-13-8 the rest of the way, recording 117 points to claim the Presidents’ Trophy with the best record in the NHL.
Other numbers besides overall record were are also similar. This year the Bruins have scored 2.60 goals per game, while at the same time last season they’d tallied 2.80 per game. Their power play has actually gotten better, as the Bruins’ 21.6 percent success rate is the eighth-best in the NHL the year, while at this point last season they had converted on the man advantage 19.2 percent of the time.
The Bruins’ penalty kill has suffered, but that was to be expected with Zdeno Chara missing so much time and the trade of Johnny Boychuk. Their mark of 87.5 percent at this point last year is down to 78.7 percent through 20 games this season.
The most glaring difference, however, has been their goals against average. After allowing an average of 1.75 goals per game last season through 20 contests, that number has jumped to 2.45 after multiple injuries to the defense and a rough start to the season for the reigning Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask.
The same goes for their goal differential. A plus-21 through 20 games last year, the Bruins have scored just four more goals than their opponents this year at the quarter mark.
The Bruins defense took another hit this week, as it was announced that Adam McQuaid would miss 6-8 weeks with a broken thumb he sustained against the Blues. Four of the Bruins' Opening Night defensemen have already suffered injuries this season, while Dennis Seidenberg is coming off of major knee surgery following a torn ACL and MCL last year.
The Bruins next have a game in Columbus before playing a three-game homestand against Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Winnipeg to end the month of November. They will then hit the road for four games on the west coast, visiting Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Arizona to start December, an important stretch for the Bruins if they hope to continue to move up the division and conference standings.