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

There’s no way to describe the 43-year-old’s season other than to call it solid. Sure, he popped in just 14 goals and wasn’t as productive as Boston needed on its appalling power play. But he was a hard-working presence every night, especially on the forecheck and playing against other teams’ top lines with Bergeron and Brad Marchand. As far as leadership, few were more valuable than Recchi. The truth about what he meant to do with his comments about Montreal in the aftermath of the Max Pacioretty Affair probably lies somewhere between meaning what he said and trying to take the heat off his captain Zdeno Chara. Either way, it worked and Recchi proved his return for another season was about more than just all the personal milestones he achieved.

Nathan Horton

First-quarter grade: B-plus

Midseason grade: C-plus

Third-quarter grade: B-minus

Final grade: B

That stretch of games in the middle of the season that seemed like a Grand Canyon-sized scoring drought – and featured Horton often floating along as if nothing was wrong – turned out to just be a pimple on a season that pretty much looked like the Bruins had predicted. He didn’t get the 30 goals, but 26 got the job done – especially when you consider Horton became a physical menace with seven fighting majors. Like most of his teammates, Horton could’ve finished better on the power play. Even when he was playing well down the stretch, there were still a few invisible nights with no shots on the stats sheet at the end.

Michael Ryder

First-quarter grade: B

Midseason grade: B

Third-quarter grade: B

Final grade: C

By taking Ryder’s $4 million salary out of the equation, you could take his 18 goals and 40 points and figure the Bruins had themselves a decent third-line winger. Julien obviously expected more, and over the season’s final month he took the unexpected step of scratching Ryder a few times to get his attention. If it worked, we might not find out until the playoffs. Ryder finished with just one goal in his final 17, and that was on a penalty shot. The rest of his game outside of the offensive zone was non-existent for much of the season and even his focus at the offensive end was often lacking.

Marchand/By S. Bradley

Brad Marchand

First-quarter grade: A-minus

Midseason grade: A

Third-quarter grade: A-minus

Final grade: B-plus

It was a rough finish for the rookie, who scored just twice over his last 20 games of the season. Still he provided 21 more goals than many expected when the season started, and he was responsible enough defensively to stay on the second line for almost the entire second half. Marchand was a great penalty-killer, but his boneheaded hit on R.J. Umberger cost him two games to suspension. His extracurricular on-ice activities, which were toned down earlier in the season, made for a little bit of a distraction for both Marchand and his teammates down the stretch. He’ll have to tamp down the enthusiasm a bit in the postseason to avoid costing his club.

Tyler Seguin

First-quarter grade: B

Midseason grade: B-minus

Third-quarter grade: B

Final grade: B-minus

We’ll never know what Seguin would’ve done as a rookie had he gone to a bad team with plenty of available ice time, or if he’d spent the entire season back in junior. All we know is that late in his rookie season, Seguin began to show he understood what was expected of him as far as not only creating chances but working hard and asserting himself physically. And then he forgot it.

That forced Julien to pull back the rookie’s minutes again and re-started the argument over whether he had to play to produce or if his lack of production meant he had to be replaced in the lineup. The Bruins have to hope that the two-week window they saw the assertive Seguin will someday become the norm. For now, they can just hope that being around the NHL team all season, and now for the playoffs, will speed his maturity as a person and a player.

Campbell/By S. Bradley

Gregory Campbell

First-quarter grade: A-minus

Midseason grade: A-minus

Third-quarter grade: A-minus

Final grade: A

In all seriousness, the Bruins could not have asked for much more from Campbell, who was their fourth-line center all season and produced 13 goals, 29 points and amazing veteran leadership. He took on all comers when it came to dropping the gloves and racked up 11 majors. He was second among forwards in blocked shots and fifth overall in hits. With his play and production, Campbell definitely changed the definition of “fourth-line center” for years to come.

Shawn Thornton

First-quarter grade: A

Midseason grade: A

Third-quarter grade: A-minus

Final grade: A

There’s no other way to grade a guy who pulled off the rare triple-double with 10 goals, 10 assists and 14 fighting majors – and did it in just 10:05 of average ice time. Thornton wasn’t just a leader on the ice, he was a major contributor. Only a 40-something-stitch gash over his right eye caused him to not skate in all 82 games for the Bruins, who needed Thornton’s enthusiasm during some desperate times early in the year when he was among the team’s top goal-scorers.

Daniel Paille

First-quarter grade: C

Midseason grade: C-plus

Third-quarter grade: C-plus

Final grade: B-minus

Paille managed to salvage the season once he was given a regular spot on the fourth line for a decent amount of games in a row. After struggling to find a way to contribute during the times he was in and out of the lineup on a nightly basis, Paille scored four goals in his last nine games. An effective penalty-killer that helped the Bruins improve in that area down the stretch, he also showed a physical side that should keep him in his fourth-line spot for the postseason.

Rich Peverley

First-quarter grade: None

Midseason grade: None

Third-quarter grade: Incomplete

Final grade: B

Peverley certainly lived up to his billing as an excellent skater who’s proficient at the faceoff dots (58 percent with Boston). You would’ve liked to have seen him chip in more offensively, but his play boosted the penalty kill and at least made the third line a threat again.

Chris Kelly

First-quarter grade: None

Midseason grade: None

Third-quarter grade: Incomplete

Final score: C-plus

It will always be a mystery whether the Bruins would’ve paid a second-round pick for Kelly if they knew they were going to get Peverley a couple days later. While Kelly boosted the much-battered penalty kill and won 53 percent of his faceoffs, he chipped in just two goals and was really a fourth-liner centering the third line just because the Bruins didn’t want to move Campbell. Maybe it took longer for Kelly to adjust to his first NHL change of team than other players and he’ll show more of what Boston liked about him in the postseason.