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Are the Bruins’ secondary scoring problems actually worse than last season?

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You think it’s bad now, but it was pretty bad last season too.

Dallas Stars v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

As a buzzworthy phrase, “secondary scoring” has been beaten into the ground during this still-young Boston Bruins season.

You know the drill by now: the Bruins aren’t going to win many games if the first line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are the only ones scoring.

Through 14 games this season, the trio has combined for 24 goals. The Bruins, as a team, have scored 39 goals, meaning the Bergeron line is responsible for a whopping 62% of this team’s scoring. 62%!!!!!

However, this isn’t really a new issue. If you remember last spring’s playoff run, the common refrain was that the team was only going to go as far as the first line could drag it.

So is the secondary scoring problem actually worse this season?

As it turns out...yes, pretty significantly.

All of the numbers below are through the first 14 games of the last two regular seasons.

Secondary scoring in 2017-2018

  • Goals by the Bergeron line: 20
  • Goals by the rest of the team: 21
  • First line outscored the rest of the team: 6 times
  • Rest of the team outscored the first line: 5 times
  • First line and rest of the team scored the game number of goals: 2 times
  • Team was shutout: 1 time

Secondary scoring in 2018-2019

  • Goals by the Bergeron line: 24
  • Goals by the rest of the team: 15
  • First line outscored the rest of the team: 6 times
  • Rest of the team outscored the first line: 3 times
  • First line and rest of the team scored the game number of goals: 2 times
  • Team was shutout: 3 times

The biggest issue this year isn’t just that the rest of the team isn’t pulling as much weight; it’s that the rest of the team hasn’t been able to lift up its first line when the goals weren’t coming.

The team was shutout just once in its first 14 games last season, compared to three times this season. Consider that one of this year’s shutouts was a 1-0 loss to the Nashville Predators, and you can see the value of even a single goal.

Through 14 games last season, the Bergeron line was responsible for 49% of the team’s goals. That the percentage has jumped up to 62% this season goes a long way toward explaining why the clamoring for secondary scoring help has only intensified.

Surprisingly enough, this year’s more top-heavy team is actually having slightly more success overall: the team is 8-4-2 through 14 games this season, while last year’s bunch was sitting at 6-5-3 through the same stretch.