An Old Concern For the Bruins Has Returned

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At the beginning of the 2023-2024 NHL season, many wondered if the Boston Bruins had the elite centermen play to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Legendary Bruins Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retired from hockey and left a void in the middle of the ice for Boston. There were rumors in the offseason regarding whether the Bruins would find a top-six level center to replace the former pivots, but nothing surfaced other than the signing of young forwards Morgan Geekie and Jesper Boqvist for depth at the position. The Bruins would begin the season with Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle as their top two centers, both solid, 200-foot players, but neither with a 60-point season to that point.

Related Post: NHL Playoffs: Jim Montgomery Needs This Lineup for Game 6

But during a regular season that saw Boston come just one point shy of an Atlantic Division title, both Zacha and Coyle produced career years. The 25-year-old Zacha registered 21 goals and 38 assists to give him a career-high 59 points, two points higher than his first season with Boston. The former first-round pick’s 54.8 faceoff percentage was also the best of his nine-year career. The 32-year-old Coyle totaled 25 goals and 35 assists for a career-best 60 points, 15 points better than during the 2022-23 season. Both players exceeded expectations and surpassed the offensive output of Bergeron and Krejci last season. Heading into the postseason, the Bruins seemed set at center again.

But as the Bruins dropped a potential series-clinching Game 5 at home in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the spotlight is back on their top-six center play. Zacha and Coyle have combined for zero goals and four assists with a minus-3 rating in the first five games of the series with Toronto. In Game 5, Zacha struggled at the faceoff dot, losing 13 of 17 draws, while Coyle lost 8 of 14. Boston was carried in Games 3 and 4 by captain Brad Marchand and has benefitted from three goals from third-line forward Trent Frederic, but Zacha and Coyle need to bring more to the table.

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As Game 6 approaches on Thursday night in Toronto, the focus will be on the production of Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle. The Bruins top-six were outplayed significantly by Toronto’s top forwards in Boston on Tuesday. In order for the Bruins to close out the series and avoid a Game 7, the top centers for Boston will need to step up and provide more offense. If this trend continues, the Bruins will struggle to win and risk blowing another three games to one series lead.

Season 3. Episode 43. Goal Scorers and A-Holes Bruins Benders Podcast

The Bruins have over $21 million in cap space. Would Reilly Smith be a good add?  How about Brenden Dillon or Dakota Joshua? Capitals take over CapFriendly. Bruins getting back into the first round? DraftKings Sportsbook – Boston’s hometown Sportsbook is LIVE right here in Massachusetts! Bet local on all your favorite sports from the comfort of your own home with DraftKings. To celebrate, ALL new customers will receive up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets when you sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook using code ITR! You can now bet local on money lines, spreads, props, and more with one of America’s top-rated Sportsbooks – DraftKings Sportsbook!  Download the DraftKings Sportsbook app and sign up with code ITR to get up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets to use now that mobile sports betting is live in Massachusetts. That’s code ITR only at DraftKings Sportsbook. If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 800 327-5050 or visit helplineMA.org to speak with a trained specialist, free and confidentially, twenty four seven. 21+. Physically present in MA. Eligibility restrictions apply. Subject to regulatory licensing requirements. Eligibility and deposit restrictions apply. Opt in required. Bonus issued aree bets. Terms at draftkings.com/MA.
  1. Season 3. Episode 43. Goal Scorers and A-Holes
  2. Season 3. Episode 42. Long Off-season Week 2
  3. Season 3. Episode 41. Long Off-Season Week 1
  4. Season 3. Episode 40. There’s Always Next Year
  5. Bruins Benders Postgame Live. Game 6 Recap

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