December was a pretty good month to be a member of the Boston Bruins. With eight wins in fourteen contests and a point in three more, there’s not to much to complain about for anyone, except maybe the Tuukka Rask fanatics who saw him defending the pipes just twice the month.
Patrice Bergeron. I criticized him roundly for a lackluster October, and didn’t think much of his year at the quarter poll. But Bergeron was possibly the best forward the Bruins had all month, getting it done in all situations. He had powerplay, short handed, and even strength goals, he even doubled November’s shooting percentage while increasing his shots on goal about 30%.
Michael Ryder. Yes really. While his play at even strength is occasionally invisible, last month he had four of his five goals, and half of his ten points on the powerplay. Despite so many points coming when they don’t affect his +/- was not affected, he went from a -3 for the month of November to a +4 for December. He’s played well both with and without the puck, in the December finale he was a +1 in over 20 minutes of play, despite the loss.
Tim Thomas. Shocking I know, they guy who leads the NHL in GAA, Sv%, and shutouts, is a star. But it needs to be said. Despite the fact he played seven straight games wrapping around the holiday break. Despite facing the offensively stacked Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, and Tampa Bay Lightning twice each in December, Tim Thomas still put up better stats than he did in November. In November he was a respectable, 2.29 GAA and .929 sv%. December saw him put up an inhuman 1.94 GAA and .942 Sv%. He’s the only qualifying goalie to bring a GAA under 2 into the new year.
Johnny Boychuck. While his play hasn’t actually been bad, he’s not doing what he’s capable of, or what brought him to the dance in the first place. A guy who can score 20 goals in the AHL, should have at least one 26 games into an NHL season. He averaged less shots on goal in December than either October or November.
Tyler Seguin. Is clearly having some growing pains, and has just one of his five goals this season at home, where he is also a minus five on the season. I suspect he’s about to get both feet under him, but has like much of the roster been shuffled around a bit. His stats for December offensively were what he had in November, but he’s doing things almost right to often.
Tuukka Rask. While it’s a bit of a reach to make this stick, the Bruins had a good enough month, that all three Stumbles are still a touch marginal, Rask actually did play slightly worse in December than in October. His stats, and likely illness in the closing week, as well as some of the opponents dictated he wouldn’t play much, well, that and Tim Thomas.
Coming soon, the 1st half grades.