Photo: Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire
All in all, it’s been a great year for Lars Eller, Andre Burakovsky and Brett Connolly, and they’ve contributed in ways that don’t always include scoring. But I would still like to see their production back closer to where it was prior to Burakovsky’s injury as well as better puck possession and team defense contributions from them. Just compare these numbers!
In the seven games since Burakovsky’s return to the lineup, here are the forward totals; the three of them have combined for one goal (an empty net goal at that), three assists (one of which was on a power play), and a -12 plus/minus.
MOST RECENT SEVEN GAMES
In contrast, here are their numbers in the seven games that Burakovsky played before having to sit out: nine goals, seven assists and a +17 plus/minus. Wow, what a swing – that’s 12 fewer points and 29(!) in plus/minus comparing the two seven-game periods.
THEIR LAST SEVEN GAMES TOGETHER BEFORE THE INJURY
Burakovsky does not seem to be suffering any lingering effects from the injury; on the contrary, Burakovsky appears in better physical shape than before, thanks to the skating he did while recovering.
In his first couple games back, Burakovsky also seemed to be having a favorable impact on the play, but it didn’t translate into points. Since then, it’s been a roller coaster ride: a not-so-good performance against the Minnesota Wild, followed by a stronger outing against the Colorado Avalanche the next night, but then a particularly rough outing against the Arizona Coyotes on a day’s rest.
Is this just a case of extremely favorable puck luck followed by extremely unfavorable puck luck? Has part of their chemistry not returned, and if so, what part is missing? What are you seeing in the 3rd line’s play that can be corrected, and what can be done to
“get the old 3rd line back”?
As more production and better play from the bottom six was a key takeaway from last year’s playoffs, I’d like Eller, Burakovsky and Connolly to turn their performance around sooner rather than later.
By Tim Foisie Follow @12th_man_Tifosi