The Boston Bruins started the season with a lack of goal scoring, and one of the reasons for this lackluster offensive output was injuries, as veterans Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Backes and others all missed time with various ailments.
The B’s scoring has increased of late, and while the improving health of the team no doubt is a factor in that, the effectiveness of the power play has been key as well.
Boston has scored a power-play goal in six of its eight December games. The Bruins have scored five in their last three games, including a 2-for-4 mark Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Both of the Bruins’ goals with the man advantage — one by David Backes and another by Charlie McAvoy — came in the second period and put the B’s up 3-0 en route to a 7-2 victory at TD Garden.
The Bruins now rank seventh in the NHL with a 20.9 power-play percentage, and there’s reason to believe the improvement will continue as the team gets healthier and the rookies get more comfortable at the pro level.
Here some other notes from Bruins vs. Blue Jackets.
— The Blue Jackets went through a stretch of 11:57 in the second period between shots on goal, and they tallied just 18 SOG for the entire game. That’s the lowest SOG total the B’s have allowed in a game this season, and their plus-25 margin in shots on goal is their highest of the campaign.
— Marchand has been on fire of late. He scored again Monday to give the B’s a early 1-0 lead on a sweet finish past Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Marchand now has scored a goal in five of his last six games, and he’s upped his season total to 14, which puts him one behind David Pastrnak for the team lead. The veteran left winger also is three points behind Pastrnak for the team lead in scoring despite having played eight fewer games because of injury. Marchand’s point streak was extended to nine games, too.
— Pastrnak’s point streak is up to 12 games after he assisted on Bergeron’s third-period goal. Pastrnak has posted 13 points (five goals, eight assists) during the streak.
— Charlie McAvoy got into his first NHL fight during the third period. His opponent was Pierre Luc Dubois — the No. 3 pick in the 2016 draft.
McAvoy, in addition to scoring his fifth goal of the season, also picked up an assist to give him his fourth multi-point game of the season and first career Gordie Howe hat trick. McAvoy now is up to 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 31 games to begin his rookie campaign.