Goal Scoring Woes

cshea

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Nov 15, 2006
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At some point they have to address why nobody outside of Pastrnak can score against any team that can play a lick of defense right? Is it system? Or they just have a 1st line, then a bunch of bottom 6 forwards who are good defensively and give an effort, but can’t consistently bury scoring chances? It’s probably a little of both honestly.
Using this post from the game thread as a jumping off point, as I think it's worth it's own discussion. The Bruins cannot score. I've laid the numbers out before, but they have a real struggle getting to 3 goals in regulation. They've played 23 games this season and only hit the 3 goals in regulation mark 9 times. It doesn't matter how good you are defensively, you need to put the puck in the net to win. Over the last 5 games the Bruins have allowed 1 goal in regulation in each game but have walked away with a paltry 4 out of 10 points (1-2-2). Further, their expected goals is 3rd lowest in the league. Through 23 games, at 5x5 they have an expected goals for of 37.27. They have 39 actual goals so they are actually out performing the analytics. The Bruins do not generate any scoring chances whatsoever. They are 5th lowest in the league at scoring chances, and they have the fewest high danger changes. It's just extremely rare for them to sniff a goal at 5x5 in a game.

I personally think the problem is two fold. First the system is geared too much towards defending. They are excellent at it, but it comes at a cost.The play in the offensive zone is too perimeter and too predictable. It's cycling along the boards and hoping to go low to high. When it gets back to the point, the D are either moving it along to the other point, sending it back down the wall or trying a feeble wrist shot from deep and hoping for a tip, rebound or bounce to go there way. Sometimes if they move it quick enough the weak side D gets some space to walk in, but they rarely go below the dots. They do not get the puck into the slot or high danger areas frequently, and when they do you know who it is. The first line or McAvoy.

Secondly the defense is just not involved in the play in the offensive end outside of McAvoy (and probably Grz as he gets back in). McAvoy and Grz have combined for 4 goals and 22 assists. Everyone else who has suited up on D (Zboril, Lauzon, Carlo, Miller, Clifton, Moore, Vaakanainen, Tinordi, Kampfer) has combined for 2 goals and 16 assists. That is brutal. They need these guys to be more involved, and in some cases, I think the coaches need to take the reigns off. Let them pinch more, let them create, let them go down low and join the rush.

I don't think they need massive personnel changes here. A veteran, mobile D would certainly help, but there are challenges towards adding one. Some of our forwards are under performing, but I also don't think they really need any sort of changes there. Adding an impact player would certainly help but I don't think it's necessary. I think they need to loosen up defensively and give guys more freedom to create in the offensive end.
 

Dahabenzapple2

Mr. McGuire
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Jun 20, 2011
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I’m no expert but it also looks to me like Krejci looks even slower and DeBrusk is skating even straighter and hasn’t grown at all in the subtle areas one hopes for with strong skaters. His go to move from the corner seems to be the desperate “centering pass across the crease with no one there”. Plus the no goal scoring from him is worrying. 2 years ago at least he scored goals. Maybe he will never be able to pass the puck.
 
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The Napkin

wise ass al kaprielian
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The play in the offensive zone is too perimeter and too predictable. It's cycling along the boards and hoping to go low to high. When it gets back to the point, the D are either moving it along to the other point, sending it back down the wall or trying a feeble wrist shot from deep and hoping for a tip, rebound or bounce to go there way. Sometimes if they move it quick enough the weak side D gets some space to walk in, but they rarely go below the dots. They do not get the puck into the slot or high danger areas frequently, and when they do you know who it is. The first line or McAvoy.
Confounding this (danger - eye test) it feels like they're slow (d especially but the whole team really) in getting off shots and get a shit ton blocked as a result. Where would I look to see shots attempts blocked / team and how the Bruins rank? I assume that's out there someplace.
 

LogansDad

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Nov 15, 2006
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I can't quantify it, but I think part of the issue is that the team seemed to be banking on Debrusk finally breaking through, and he has seemingly regressed instead. I don't know if it's because of the Kadri hit, a simple wall, or just being disinterested (he has seemed this way at times), but instead of hitting his stride as a 24 year old, all of a sudden he's become an impediment to the team improving.

If he's the player we thought he was going to turn into 2 years ago, this team probably has way fewer problems scoring, but since he is a complete non-factor, the Bruins are a one line team and it becomes really easy for opposing coaches to play matchups, and focus all of their effort on stopping the Bergy line.


I also mentioned to the wife last night that even while they were sustaining offensive zone time, it was all along the boards. They just don't have any way to get inside against good defensive teams. I agree that the defense needs to activate more, and hopefully Cassidy with see that as the season goes along and get more comfortable with letting the young players loose.

Time will tell, but if they play like this much longer, making the playoffs will be seriously in doubt.
 

ColdSoxPack

lurker
Jul 14, 2005
1,100
Simi Valley, CA
We have one great line. I would try and make 2 good lines out of it, such as Bergy-Marchand and Kreci-Pasta, add somebody we need to get going to each line. No I am not Scotty Bowman but we need a better overall balance than we need one great line since we are losing anyway.
 

jk333

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Feb 26, 2009
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Historically, Pastrnak and Krejci haven’t been as great together as you would expect.

It’s dumb that they have to break up the best line in hockey but if the team can’t start scoring, perhaps they should try Marchand with Krejci and Bergy with Pasta. Marchand was effective last year (2 years ago?) without Bergeron.
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
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Using this post from the game thread as a jumping off point, as I think it's worth it's own discussion. The Bruins cannot score. I've laid the numbers out before, but they have a real struggle getting to 3 goals in regulation. They've played 23 games this season and only hit the 3 goals in regulation mark 9 times. It doesn't matter how good you are defensively, you need to put the puck in the net to win. Over the last 5 games the Bruins have allowed 1 goal in regulation in each game but have walked away with a paltry 4 out of 10 points (1-2-2). Further, their expected goals is 3rd lowest in the league. Through 23 games, at 5x5 they have an expected goals for of 37.27. They have 39 actual goals so they are actually out performing the analytics. The Bruins do not generate any scoring chances whatsoever. They are 5th lowest in the league at scoring chances, and they have the fewest high danger changes. It's just extremely rare for them to sniff a goal at 5x5 in a game.

I personally think the problem is two fold. First the system is geared too much towards defending. They are excellent at it, but it comes at a cost.The play in the offensive zone is too perimeter and too predictable. It's cycling along the boards and hoping to go low to high. When it gets back to the point, the D are either moving it along to the other point, sending it back down the wall or trying a feeble wrist shot from deep and hoping for a tip, rebound or bounce to go there way. Sometimes if they move it quick enough the weak side D gets some space to walk in, but they rarely go below the dots. They do not get the puck into the slot or high danger areas frequently, and when they do you know who it is. The first line or McAvoy.

Secondly the defense is just not involved in the play in the offensive end outside of McAvoy (and probably Grz as he gets back in). McAvoy and Grz have combined for 4 goals and 22 assists. Everyone else who has suited up on D (Zboril, Lauzon, Carlo, Miller, Clifton, Moore, Vaakanainen, Tinordi, Kampfer) has combined for 2 goals and 16 assists. That is brutal. They need these guys to be more involved, and in some cases, I think the coaches need to take the reigns off. Let them pinch more, let them create, let them go down low and join the rush.

I don't think they need massive personnel changes here. A veteran, mobile D would certainly help, but there are challenges towards adding one. Some of our forwards are under performing, but I also don't think they really need any sort of changes there. Adding an impact player would certainly help but I don't think it's necessary. I think they need to loosen up defensively and give guys more freedom to create in the offensive end.
Is it that "the system" is geared toward defense, or that the defensemen aren't initiating the offense from the d-zone; and as a result the forwards are starting the play very deep in the d-zone.

Absolutely right about defensmen involvement. As ineffective as he is, Tinordi has shown a willingness to pinch that: a) freaks me out every time he does it; but b) stands out.
 

TSC

SoSH's Doug Neidermeyer
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Oct 25, 2007
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Seems like the loss of Krug is hurting them on 5v5.
I don't really know if I believe that.

In the last two years Krug has had 13, and 21 5v5 points.

Which isn't nothing, but it's also not something I'd pin the blame on. Where everyone thought losing Krug would hurt has been the PP (heh), but that hasn't really panned out.
 

Ferm Sheller

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Mar 5, 2007
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Speaking of Krug, does anyone know how Ahcan is doing in Providence (beyond his stats)? Does he look like a call up candidate this year, or is that unlikely?
 

NYCSox

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I don't really know if I believe that.

In the last two years Krug has had 13, and 21 5v5 points.

Which isn't nothing, but it's also not something I'd pin the blame on. Where everyone thought losing Krug would hurt has been the PP (heh), but that hasn't really panned out.
It's not all ES points though. He was skating and passing breakouts which created scoring chances and drew penalties, which may only lead to a few ES points for him.

Still wouldn't have given him the deal he got but his skill set is needed.
 

durandal1707

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Apr 18, 2007
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Confounding this (danger - eye test) it feels like they're slow (d especially but the whole team really) in getting off shots and get a shit ton blocked as a result. Where would I look to see shots attempts blocked / team and how the Bruins rank? I assume that's out there someplace.
That would be the difference between Corsi and Fenwick if I'm not mistaken. Taking some data from NST and doing some quick Excel work, the Bruins are:

7th in Corsi per game (45 attempts per game)
7th in Fenwick per game (34.4 non-blocked attempts per game)
18th in shots blocked per game (10.6 blocked attempts per game)
8th in shots on goal (24.3 per game)

In other words, they're average in terms of getting shots past blocks. (The range on the Corsi minus Fenwick per game column is 8.5 to 13.3, the average is 10.5.)

As cshea states, the problem is that while the Bruins are taking a good number of shot attempts, they're simply not dangerous shots. Even accounting for the fact the Bruins have played fewer games than most teams, they're 27th in high danger chances for per game and 29th in shot percentage.

Looking at that, I think the problem with the Bs is systemic. While the low shooting percentage might also be influenced by lacking skilled goal-scorers, the bigger issue is that they're not creating enough danger for their opponents. They need to work on changing their offensive zone approach.
 

RetractableRoof

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My two cents. There is a lot of youth on defense. We lost a lot of experience with the departure of Chara and Krug, and when Kevan isn't in the lineup. If you open up the D and ask them to pinch and be more aggressive you also invite the youthful mistakes that lead to high percentage chances the other way. It seemed reasonable early in the season (as some of them got their legs under them with more minutes) to play a more conservative systemic approach with the D (and ask the offense to contribute to the D as well) in order to prevent all hell from breaking loose on the D end and having that mess with the young guys confidence. That thinking is reasonable, because their SHOULD have been enough offensive talent to get a miscellaneous goal here and there and get a few (more) wins with this approach. When you face a good defensive team, it's harder (have they faced more than their share of quality defensive teams?). From the games that we've seen (especially against a quality defense), we can get a read as to how the playoffs would look - and the lack of 5x5 success doesn't bode well. I personally was expecting more from Smith combos, and hopeful about some of the offensive youth - but that hasn't born enough fruit either.

So my thought would be that:
a) from here out, the offense is less defensive - even if that means the young D is leaned on a bit more, and the D encouraged to pinch and be more aggressive themselves. The team now knows it can play solid D when/if it chooses to. The remainder of the regular season should be used to get the offense going at a decent clip - even if the games move to 5-3 from 2-1. They just need to qualify for the playoffs, I frankly don't care where they finish - even if it means TB in the first round. The rest of the season needs to be used as learning time for the D to figure out how to walk the line of contributing on offense without selling out the defense. Even I know that's often a steep learning curve, and I don't have the playing experience most of you guys have. I think I got spoiled by the offensive creativity from Krug. That takes time to develop those instincts (or even to set them free at this level?) and Krug seemingly had it from minute one.
b) the front office needs to decide if this is a year for them to try to do something big given the the teams in the upper tier. Honestly, it might be that simple. This might not be a year to invest assets in given how loaded some of the teams are. I don't believe adding a Kase (or something similar) gets it done this year in terms of making them a threat 5v5, any small move only gets them to barely passable, unless a systemic increase of aggression really frees the offensive up.
 

Jordu

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Apr 30, 2003
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I also mentioned to the wife last night that even while they were sustaining offensive zone time, it was all along the boards. They just don't have any way to get inside against good defensive teams. I agree that the defense needs to activate more, and hopefully Cassidy with see that as the season goes along and get more comfortable with letting the young players loose.
I’ve noticed the same. Other than Pasta and Marchand (because of their skating and instincts) and Ritchie (because of his size), the Bruins don’t have wingers who can play inside the dots or park in front of the net looking for tips. Studnicka and Frederic and Bjork don’t have those skills yet. DeBrusk had them and he needs to get them back. Kuraly and Wagner play best along the boards, although Wagner does get some good looks.

Sweeney talked about AHL players. Senyshyn has 5 goals and 4 assists in 11 games, which is encouraging, but he’s not the answer.

Cassidy talked earlier in the season about freeing up the D men, but it’s a matter of how free. McAvoy, Gryz, Zboril and Vak are all good enough skaters to get more involved in the offense — Vak had an impressive net-front chance last night — but they’re not going to take many risks because they’re coached not to.

I’m not sure I want to see a bunch of odd-man rushes the other way and a lot of scrambling in the defensive zone, but I agree with folks here that something’s got to change and getting the D more invoked seems to be the only option at hand right now.
 

veritas

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Jan 13, 2009
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To me the biggest problem is Krejci. He's not generating any scoring chances at all. He had a down year last season and it's gotten a lot worse this year. For 5v5 scoring, Krejci has been as reliable as they come for a 2nd line center over the years, and he's giving them nothing. He's been on the decline for a couple of years and I don't think it's reasonable to expect him to turn things around at almost 35. He's old for a hockey player.

It's a pretty big shakeup, but I'd move him to 1RW and hope for a Claude Giroux style rejuvenation.

Regarding DeBrusk, he's always been streaky because he's somewhat of a limited player. If he's not scoring goals, he doesn't do much else. His defensive metrics have always been above average, and he's pretty good at getting scoring chances for himself. That's it though, that's all he does. I think expectations for him have always been unrealistic, he's never shown much ability to create for other players at any level. That being said, he's a good middle six winger and he's not going to shoot 3% all season.
 
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cshea

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Saturday's masterpiece in futility:

0.09 expected goals in the 1st period. 0.02 (!!) in the 2nd period. A robust 0.36 in the 3rd when the game was out of reach. They did not get credit for a single high danger chance at 5x5 in the entire game.