The most surprising numbers from the Bruins sweep of the Penguins


Some quick notes to wrap up the Boston Bruins’ recent sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Boston held Pittsburgh stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin off the board, while as a team, the Penguins managed just two goals in four games (all data taken from

1- Penguins star Sidney Crosby was held without a point in four games. Here are Crosby’s longest scoreless game streaks in his NHL career

05-06: 3 games
06-07: 3 games
07-08: 1 game
08-09: 3 games
09-10: 2 games
10-11: 2 games
11-12: 2 games
12-13: 1 game

In other words, Crosby had never been held without a point in any four consecutive NHL games, regular or postseason, until the Bruins series.

1a) In the 2008-09 season, Crosby went three games without a point in the final three games of the Stanley Cup finals against Detroit. That streak should come with an asterisk, as Crosby was injured in the second period during the third game of that streak, Game 7 of the Cup finals.

1b) This is my favorite: Crosby had more games with 3 or more points (11) than ones with 0 points (10) in the 2013 season.


2) Evgeni Malkin’s career numbers aren’t quite as good as Crosby’s, but they are close. Here are Malkin’s longest scoreless game streaks in his career.

06-07: 2 games
07-08: 4 games
08-09: 2 games
09-10: 4 games
10-11: 3 games
11-12: 2 games
12-13: 2 games

2a) Malkin, like Crosby, didn’t register a point against Boston.


3) As a team, the Penguins scored two goals in four games (really about 4.6 games if you include the game 3 double overtime classic, but I’ll ignore that). If this total seems like a small number of goals, it is. Especially for the Penguins.

3a) The last time the Pittsburgh franchise was held to two goals or less in four games, Guy Lafleur and Bobby Clarke were its opponents. No joke. The Penguins have only had one streak of four games in which they scored fewer than two goals, and that streak occurred here, in the 1973-74 season, including a game against Lafleur’s Canadiens and Clarke’s Flyers.

3b) Here are Pittsburgh’s lowest goal totals in any 4 game sequence, by each season, since the early 1990’s (I stopped when it was clear I wasn’t finding a “1” or a “2” during Mario Lemieux’s career)

91-92: 7 goals in 4 games
92-93: 7 goals
93-94: 6 goals
94-95: 6 goals
95-96: 7 goals
96-97: 6 goals
97-98: 5 goals
98-99: 5 goals
99-01: 5 goals
00-01: 5 goals
01-02: 5 goals
02-03: 3 goals
03-04: 4 goals
05-06: 5 goals
06-07: 6 goals
07-08: 4 goals
08-09: 5 goals
09-10: 3 goals
10-11: 5 goals
11-12: 3 goals
12-13: 6 goals

Thus, it seems really, really, really surprising that such a franchise would then score just twice in four games.

 3c) Perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised, however, that Boston was the team to hold Pittsburgh down. In the above table, at least one Boston game was included in the four game sequences from the 06-07, 08-09, and 09-10 seasons.

3d) It seems impossible, but its true: behind Mario Lemieux and eventually Jaromir Jagr, the Pittsburgh franchise wasn’t shut out during the 88-89, 89-90, or 90-91 seasons, and the Penguins were shutout just nine times in eight seasons between 87-88 and 94-95. As a point of comparison, the Predators were shutout nine times in the 2013 strike-shortened 48-game season.

3e) Before two blanks against Boston, Pittsburgh hadn’t been shutout all season, and the Penguins were shutout just four times in 2011-12.


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