The Bruins have been electric so far this season, and there’s not much to complain about when it comes to this team. They have been doing it all, from goal scoring, defense, and spectacular goaltending.
One player has been a major key to the Bruins, though, and his absence was noticeable. When Derek Forbort suffered a broken finger that kept him out of the lineup for about three weeks, the Bruins’ penalty kill struggled mightily.
Ty Anderson of 98.5 recently shared some interesting stats about the PK when Forbort was still out:
B’s PK prior to Forbort’s injury: 35-for-37, 94.6% (best in NHL).
B’s PK since Forbort injury: 31-for-41, 75.6% (20th in NHL).
The numbers tell it all, as Forbort is essential on the kill with his ability to block shots and give up his body. The stats tell the story of how effective he is when the Bruins are down a man. He has appeared in 17 games this season, and Boston’s penalty kill is 93.3% with him in the lineup. During the 11 games he missed, the Bruins were 76.1% while shorthanded.
When the Bruins need a penalty killed, Forbort is the first man off the bench for head coach Jim Montgomery. It’s crazy to see that Forbort has spent 293:45 of his 1,169:11 of his time on ice as a Bruin shorthanded, or around 17%. This season, he has averaged 3:29 of ice time per game on the penalty kill.
It’s not just his ability to block shots when shorthanded either, as the other night against the Islanders, Forbort was able to secure a shorthanded goal to put the Bruins up in the contest.
Forbort has really taken the next step this season; as teams sometimes look past a defensive defenseman, the Bruins are embracing having him on the ice. Having a penalty kill specialist like Forbort is what makes this team great in all aspects, as it allows the Bruins to continue to dominate the game even when shorthanded. Since arriving in Boston, Forbort has been exactly what the Bruins need from a third-pairing defenseman as he anchors that line with Connor Clifton.