Boston Bruins’ defenseman Derek Forbort was a vital asset on the penalty kill during the regular season, but fell subject to the mistakes which plagued the team’s defense during the playoffs.
Although he’s never going to be an offensive-driven defenseman, Forbort had a career-high in goals at five which included two game-winning goals and two shorthanded tallies.
This regular season was pretty comparable for Forbort to the previous year with points — 12 on five goals and seven assists — and 88 blocked shots in only 54 games because of injury. Head Coach Jim Montgomery wanted the defense involved in offensive plays and Forbort was jumping into more plays, getting shots off before his first injury.
Forbort was a huge force on special teams — and the B’s were better on the PK when he was out there.
The Bruins’ PK took a hit when the stay-at-home defensemen broke a finger in November. He missed 11 games due to the injury.
When he was out of the lineup, the penalty kill wasn’t as effective, dropping to 65.6% in the timespan. When Forbort returned, the PK was given a much-needed boost. In comparison, the PK was 94.6% effective in the first 10 games of the season with Forbort out there. The team did fare better out front on the PK the second time Forbort was injured.
The defenseman missed nearly two months overall in the regular season with two separate injuries. His second one came at the end of the season for a lower-body injury when he blocked a shot with his leg.
He ended the season playing in 54 games and returned for playoffs.
Sometimes the last memories of the postseason scar all the good done in the regular season. For Forbort, that’s his case.
Forbort’s playoff play wasn’t as great as the previous year’s as he fell victim to some sloppy defensive zone coverage at the wrong times — as did the rest of the guys.
Looking back, the penalty kill helped the Bruins to take a 3-1 series lead after Game 4 against the Florida Panthers. They stopped the Panthers on all seven man-advantages accumulated through Game 3 and held the Florida to only one power-play goal on 11 attempts total through Game 4.
But then, as we know, things took a turn. To start, Florida went four for nine against the B’s penalty kill in Games 5 through 7.
For Forbort, his most notably ugly game came in Game 6 against the Panthers. He was on the ice for three of Florida’s goals, including Matthew Tkachuk’s goal which tied the game in the third period.
He had poor coverage on Tkachuk who was wide open at the back door. The defenseman was great with puck battles along the boards during the regular season, but struggled in Game 6 leading to yet another goal earlier in the game. He’s not 100% to blame for a 4-on-3 PK goal, but the pass on it did originate from Forbort’s side.
Overall, Forbort’s postseason performance was reflective of the defensive core as a whole. Poor coverage and execution to get the puck out of the zone, sloppiness and turnovers.