Morning Skate 54: Breaking down BostonPhilly stats

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Morning Skate 54: Breaking down BostonPhilly stats

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Here are a couple of stats to throw out with the Bs nine games into their playoff run this season, and in an excellent position while up 2-0 in their series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Theyve been here before, but this season most definitely looks and feels different. The numbers seem to be backing that up, so heres a giant helping of stats from the series. Patrice Bergeron is tied for second in the NHL with 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in the playoffs, and is winning 60.8-percent of his face-offs while also playing at a plus-7 in nine games thus far. The 25-year-old center should be considered in the Conn Smythe discussion and trails only Claude Giroux in the playoff-scoring department with the Flyers forwards 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists) in nine games. Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis also both have 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 10 games played. Zdeno Chara, despite missing 10 pounds in a 24-hour period while battling a virus that caused severe dehydration prior to Game 2 against the Montreal Canadiens, is still second among playoff defenseman with 29:04 of ice time per game during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Charas offensive numbers havent been there, but hes still playing the stopper role in the defensive zone along with his other vital roles in the Boston attack. Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter actually leads everyone in the NHL playoffs with 29:34 of ice time per game. Brad Marchand is averaging 18:22 of ice time per game in the playoffs with nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in nine games, and he leads the entire NHL in playoff plusminus with a plus-8. Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron are both tied for second with a plus-7 so far this postseason, and that trio of players so good and so dynamic through the regular season is a combined plus-22 during the playoffs for the Bruins. The Bruins have four of the top 10 plusminus leaders in the NHL during the playoffs with Andrew Ference also clocking in with a plus-6 thus far in nine games. Nathan Horton and David Krejci each have two game-winning goals in the playoffs thus far, but they trail Lecavalier, who has three game-winning goals for the Tampa Bay Lightning in an impressive body of work thus far with the Bolts leading the Capitals 3-0 in their series. James van Riemsdyk leads the NHL with 59 shots attempted in nine playoff games thus far for the Philadelphia Flyers. Thats 13 more than anybody else has managed to squeeze off during the playoffs and an average of 6.5 shots per playoff game for the former UNH superstar and NHL draft lottery pick. Thats a ridiculous number of shot attempts, and what's even crazier is that he's burying 11.9-percent of those shots.With some numbers to digest, on to the links: Paul Coffey tells the Pittsburgh Tribune that hes willing to work with the Penguins power play next season. If they dont have Sidney Crosby at full strength it isnt going to matter all that much. Yan Stastny is starring at the world championships in a European setting that should make him feel very at home, per Kevin Allen of the USA Today. Via Kukla's Korner, ESPN anchor John Buccigross goes through a player on each remaining playoff team that hed personally like to see win the Stanley Cup. Yahoo! Sports columnist Nick Cotsonika goes through how some place like Nashville can transform into a southern hockey town that they like to call Smashville. The attention to detail on defense for this years Washington Capitals team will be highly scrutinized if they fall down in the second round as it seems theyre about to, down 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the Caps struggles in mind, Mike Brophy wonders whether Bruce Boudreau will be in trouble should Washington drop this series sooner rather than later. A couple of cool stories about Tim Thomas from the Globe and Mail in Toronto: one from James Mirtle details how unpredictable Thomas can be between the pipes and the other is how easy it is to cheer for an underdog like the Bs goaltender. CBC rink side reporter Elliotte Friedman gives his always cogent 30 thoughts and thinks Montreal Canadiens underachiever Scott Gomez still has a future with the Habs after a rough season. FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski takes on the subject of Brad Marchand, and paints a pretty accurate picture of why the Bruins pest is helping to make a difference this season.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

BRIGHTON, Mass – While the NHL debut for Charlie McAvoy is a matter of “when” rather than “if” at this point after agreeing to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) with the Boston Bruins, the jury is still out on Boston University center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and University of Notre Dame winger Anders Bjork become pros. 

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney says that Forsbacka-Karlsson has yet to make a “final decision” on his status for next season after BU’s elimination from the NCAA hockey tournament, and Bjork is readying for the Frozen Four this weekend along with the rest of his Fighting Irish teammates. The 20-year-old Forsbacka-Karlsson just wrapped up his sophomore season with the Terriers and posted 14 goals and 33 points in 38 games with a plus-11 rating, and has not given the Bruins any firm word on his plans for the immediate future. 

The urgency perhaps isn’t there for the Bruins to lock things up with Forsbacka-Karlsson right this second, because he wouldn’t be a factor for this year’s NHL team. 

Meanwhile the Bruins can’t do anything with the 20-year-old Bjork until at least the end of next weekend, but have been mightily impressed with a player that’s posted 21 goals and 52 points in 38 games for Notre Dame this season. Bjork had three assists in the game that propelled Notre Dame into the Frozen Four, and there would be a great deal of urgency for the Bruins to lock up a talented forward that might be able to help them right now. 

“I’ve been able to see [Bjork] a few times including the regional [in New Hampshire] last weekend, and he was outstanding. He played every other shift, he set up goals in the game and he’s had a really nice progression as a college player this season,” said Sweeney of the explosive Notre Dame junior, who was far and away the best player at B's development camp last summer. “They’ve done a fabulous job with their team, and hopefully they get to the Finals on Saturday against Harvard, and we get the best of both worlds seeing how our prospects play in the final game. He’s had a tremendous college career to this point, and we’re excited about his development.”

McAvoy is the front-burner issue for the Bruins at this point, but it would surprise exactly nobody if both Forsbacka-Karlsson and Bjork join him in Providence in the next couple of weeks as they wrap up their AHL season.