Bruins regular-season final grades: the forwards

Bergeron/By S. Bradley

The first 82 games are in the books. Now the games really count. Before the start of the playoffs, here’s a look at how the Bruins graded out during the regular season.

One year after finishing dead last in the NHL in goals score per game, the Bruins bounced back and finished fifth this season.

They did it with a balanced attack led by emerging sniper Milan Lucic, who totaled a career-high 30 goals. Most of Boston’s top scorers were streaky, but they streaked upward at the right times. And the Bruins produced some offensive eruptions that pushed the goals average toward the top of the league.

Defensively, the forward corps backchecked well and the majority of forwards dropped the gloves at least once over the course of the season. Their lack of finish hurt the power play, but when they kept their feet moving and forechecked aggressively the Bruins’ forwards accomplished most of what they wanted during the 82-game schedule.

Here are the final regular-season report cards for the Bruins’ forwards:

Patrice Bergeron

First-quarter grade: B

Midseason grade: A-minus

Third-quarter grade: A

Final grade: B-plus

He didn’t reach the 70-point plateau like Boston was hoping, but Bergeron still enjoyed a solid season as the Bruins’ best shutdown center with a little more of an offensive bent than he showed in the past. Unfortunately, his goal-scoring took a hiatus from February on and left the Bruins with just one line that scored consistently. Nonetheless, he was plus-20 and finished ninth in the league in faceoff percentage.

David Krejci

First-quarter grade: B-minus

Midseason grade: C

Third-quarter grade: B

Final grade: B

His third full NHL season came with a test as the club’s full-time No. 1 center, and Krejci mostly passed it. Like his usual linemates, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, Krejci suffered through some dry spells. But if you take out the games he was still shaking off the cobwebs after a concussion, he scored at nearly a point-per-game pace. The Bruins needed more than just 12 points from Krejci on the power play. He was a plus-20 while logging nearly 19 minutes of ice time a night.

Lucic/By S. Bradley

Milan Lucic

First-quarter grade: A-minus

Midseason grade: B

Third-quarter grade: B-plus

Final grade: A-minus

It was a great breakout year for Lucic, who set a career-high with 30 goals. For a guy who some worried had lost his physical edge, he still racked up seven fighting majors and led the team with 167 hits. His goal total was padded some by a few empty-netters, but that just proved how responsible he became in his own end – head coach Claude Julien was able to trust Lucic in the closing seconds of tight games. Lucic suffered through some expected lulls in production when he got away from banging and grinding. That’s to be expected, however, from a 22-year-old.

Mark Recchi

First-quarter grade: B

Midseason grade: B-plus

Third-quarter grade: B

Final grade: B

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