Finest workforce in NHL historical past? Bruins may be part of dialog

The Boston Bruins are playing at a pace never seen before in the NHL.(Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

The Boston Bruins are taking part in at a tempo by no means seen earlier than within the NHL.(Credit score: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports activities)

With a 4-2 win towards the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, the Boston Bruins won their sixth game in a row, giving them 10 wins of their final 11 video games and enhancing their report to a surprising 38-5-4.

Take a second to soak this in: if the Bruins preserve this tempo, they’d creator arguably the best common season in NHL historical past.

With 80 factors in 47 video games performed, the 2022-23 Bruins are the fastest team ever to reach that mark and presently boast a factors proportion of .851. That places Boston on tempo for 66 wins and 140 factors, which might break the wins report (62) held by the 1995-96 Detroit Crimson Wings and 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning, and the factors report (132) held by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who completed the feat in 80 video games.

Solely the 1976-77 (.825) and 1977-78 (.806) Canadiens maintained points percentages above 80 for a full season. Crucially, these groups have been iterations of a dynastic Habs run the place they received 4 straight Stanley Cups and 10 of 15 championships from 1965 to 1979.

This gives context in two instructions. First, the Bruins are additionally flirting with placing collectively the best regular-season run we’ve ever seen, barring some nitpicking about ties versus “loser factors.” Second, and most crucially, they’ll discover themselves in a special place in historical past in the event that they win or lose a Stanley Cup.

Right here’s a breakdown of the place this Bruins workforce stands and the hurdles they need to clear to rub elbows with the greats by truly profitable all of it.

Why the 2022-23 Bruins are so dominant

Right here is the place the Bruins rank in a number of key classes league huge:

GF/GP: T1 (3.81)

GA/GP: 1 (2.02)

PP%: 2 (27.2)

PK%: 1 (86.8)

In relation to what makes this Bruins workforce particular, some components are acquainted. David Pastrnak ranks far forward of different Bruins in scoring — second total in objectives (40) and third total in factors (69) — however Boston is having fun with super two-way play from the same old suspects, together with Brad Marchand (45 factors), returning acquainted face David Krejci (39) and Patrice Bergeron (38). Lately, opponents have realized to concern Boston’s potent energy play and that’s carried over to this season, whereas their penalty kill is as good as ever.

That stated, there are definitely some key variations that set this workforce aside. A couple of highlights embody:

  • A training change, and possibly an improve?: You’ll be able to debate the improve half (Bruce Cassidy’s having fun with principally promising success in Vegas), however Jim Montgomery’s a worthy Jack Adams candidate both means.

  • A surprising ascension in web: Linus Ullmark developed a strong fame with Buffalo, however one season in, the Bruins might need questioned their four-year, $20-million funding within the goalie. Now he appears like a possible steal. Ullmark presently leads the NHL in wins (25) whereas producing the very best save proportion amongst workhorse goalies (.938). Spit out a “fancy stat,” and Ullmark seemingly shines. This Hockey Viz chart gives a graphical have a look at how improbable Boston’s goaltending has been.

  • Initially, the Bruins appeared to overpay for Hampus Lindholm, who appeared on monitor to be thought-about “once-great.” About that: he’s a credible Norris Trophy dark horse candidate this season.

  • Once more, it’s good to get a robust heart again, and Krejci’s delivered regardless of a 12 months out of the NHL.

Hockey followers are used to good Bruins groups — typically fairly good ones — however this one’s deeper than ever, with a league-best eight gamers with 10-plus objectives. As painful as it’s to be a celebration pooper, there are a number of causes keepers of the cup shouldn’t chisel the Bruins’ identify on the Stanley Cup simply but.

Potential bumps within the street

First, it’s necessary to a minimum of take a second to do not forget that as promising because the tandem of Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman is, it’s an unproven duo within the postseason. Typically that shock Cinderella run goes pumpkin underneath the cruel lights of the playoffs. There are additionally sure indicators {that a} workforce may decelerate. Past presumably unsustainable save percentages, the Bruins’ workforce taking pictures proportion might also cool.

The most important bumps within the street aren’t concerning the Bruins, nevertheless, however as an alternative concerning the path forward. Due to the NHL’s present playoff format, Boston’s second-round opponent would both be a workforce tied for second within the NHL in factors (Toronto Maple Leafs at 66) or a workforce that’s been to 3 straight Stanley Cup Last collection, profitable two (Tampa Bay Lightning, 61 factors).

In fact, the Lightning can spin some unhappy yarns about how a traditionally nice regular-season workforce might not even make it that far. In 2018-19, the Lightning generated the fourth most standings factors (128) and fifth-highest factors proportion (.781) in NHL historical past. Then they failed to win a single playoff game.

Current NHL historical past gives different examples of playoff letdowns. Final season’s Florida Panthers received the Presidents’ Trophy by accumulating 122 factors, but their second-round exit prompted painful modifications and so they face a steep climb to even make the playoffs this season. The 2009-10 Washington Capitals generated 121 factors, however couldn’t clear up a red-hot Jaroslav Halak.

Typically, you run right into a scorching goalie or horrible harm luck.

The Bruins should management what they’ll, and the very best recommendation would seemingly be to defy Marchand and provides veterans relaxation, from Bergeron to Krejci to much less apparent selections akin to Marchand, Lindholm and Taylor Corridor.

Additionally, if there are alternatives on the commerce deadline, the Bruins must go for it. Solely Bergeron and Krejci know what number of years they’ve left, and even Marchand is by some means already 34 years previous.

Boston has the eleventh strongest scheduled for the rest of the season, per Tankathon. That does not essentially imply all that a lot for a workforce nearly as good as these Bruins, nevertheless it will not be a cake stroll to the end line.

How Bruins examine to among the finest groups in NHL historical past

In the end, we don’t know if these Bruins will win the Stanley Cup. Let’s shortly examine them to among the finest groups in NHL historical past:

2022-23 Bruins: 38-5-4 for 80 factors in 47 video games (.851 factors proportion) with a plus-83 aim differential.

Nineteen Seventies Canadiens: The 1976-77 team generated the best-ever record at 60-8-12 for 132 factors in 80 video games (.825) with a plus-216 aim differential.

Mix the sheer variety of Stanley Cup wins with the limiting issue of ties, and most would give the height variations of those Canadiens groups the sting over the 2022-23 Bruins.

Bobby Orr period Bruins: The 1971-72 Bruins generated 121 factors in 78 video games (.776) with a plus-126 aim differential.

When Orr was wholesome, the Bruins received two Stanley Cups in three seasons and put collectively a run of dominance which will outshine these Bruins. This 12 months’s workforce may nonetheless keep within the argument with a presumably larger factors proportion, although.

Eighties Islanders: The 1981-82 Isles went 54-16-10 for 118 factors in 80 video games (.738) with a plus-135 aim differential.

No workforce has received three straight Stanley Cups because the dynastic Islanders received 4 straight from 1980-83. Maybe historians might wrestle with evaluating one single transcendent Bruins workforce with the dynasty Islanders, and in addition the workforce that wrestled the torch away from Lengthy Island.

Eighties Oilers: The 1983-84 model reached 119 factors (.744) with a plus-132 aim differential, and in contrast to in 1985-86, received a Stanley Cup.

By profitable 4 Stanley Cups with Wayne Gretzky and one with out him, the Oilers be part of the Islanders as groups whose total dominance is plain. The “best participant of all time” factor might nudge bar debates towards Edmonton over Boston even when the B’s find yourself with way more standings factors.

Yzerman-Lidstrom Period Crimson Wings: They’d the finest season to by no means win a Stanley Cup in 1995-96, recording the second most regular-season factors with 131. They’d 116 factors and 115 factors, respectively, throughout their 2002 and 2008 championship seasons.

Runs like these of the Crimson Wings seemingly shaped concepts a few Presidents’ Trophy “curse,” as they did not win the Cup 4 instances throughout that period once they led the NHL in factors. So, if the Bruins can end robust and win a Stanley Cup, there might be an argument that this 12 months’s workforce had the next peak than any of these Crimson Wings groups.

– – –

Like most nice sports activities debates, arguing the 2022-23 Bruins versus historical past’s best groups will come right down to nostalgia and fandom as a lot as stats themselves. In fact, the Bruins want to truly maintain this tempo and win a Stanley Cup to drum up these arguments, and even the icons of the game will admit that’s simpler stated than accomplished.

Extra from Yahoo Sports activities

Previous post Greatest crew in NHL historical past? Bruins might be a part of dialog
Next post Purdy goes from ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ to brink of Tremendous Bowl