Bruins within reach of NHL records for wins and points. Here’s how they can do it

The Boston Bruins failed to finish the formality to win the Presidents’ Trophy on Tuesday night, but they’ve already made NHL history and are looking to break a record or two before the season ends.

The 2022-23 Bruins have already become the fastest NHL team with 50 wins (in 64 games) and 100 points (in 61 competitions). On Wednesday, the Bruins go within reach with a 57-12-5 record and 119 points with eight games remaining to set new NHL regular-season win and point records.

Let’s look at their chances and how the 2022-23 Bruins are holding up against the greatest NHL teams of all time.

The Boston Bruins are nearing two major NHL milestones. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Most wins in a single NHL season (62)

Already with 57 wins, the Bruins need to win five of their last eight games to reach 62 wins, which would put them level with the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning. They would stand alone if they achieved 63+ wins by winning at least six of those competitions.

Most points in a single NHL season (132)

Ever since we last checked into the Bruins’ historic regular season, the team’s very slightly slowed down – but really only by their outrageous standards. That relative deviation hasn’t dashed her dreams of breaking or breaking the winning record, but it does make the score a bigger jump.

With 119 points in 74 games played, the Bruins are basically on track (if you round up) to match the Montreal Canadiens’ 1976-77 record of 132 points. It’s worth noting, however, that the Canadiens have accomplished this in just 80 games and without the benefit of shootouts, from which the Bruins have accumulated three wins and nine points this season.

It’s not going to be easy, and just standing at 133 would mean a near-perfect end to their regular season. Here are the four scenarios in which the Bruins could pull it off:

  • 8-0-0 (135)

  • 7-0-1 (134)

  • 7-1-0 (133)

  • 6-0-2 (133)

Here are the scenarios that would allow the Bruins to earn the 13 points needed to match the record 132 in a season:

The stage could be set for a dramatic finale to the regular season when the Bruins take on the Canadiens in Montreal on April 13.

Bruins schedule: last eight games

While back-to-back sets aren’t ideal, the overall outlook for Boston’s schedule is quite conducive to a strong finish. Taking 13 to 132 points would be difficult, and to expect a record-breaking 14 from a maximum of 16 remaining in the table would be asking a lot, even for this team.

March 30: vs. Blue Jackets

April 1st: @penguins

April 2: @Blues

April 6: vs. Maple Leafs

April 8: vs. Devils

April 9: @ flyers

April 11: against capitals

April 13: @ Canadians

Why are the 2022-23 Bruins so dominant?

On Wednesday, the Bruins were among the best in almost every stat category:

GF/GP: 2. (3.69)

GA/GP: 1. by far (2.11)

PP%: 15th (21.6%)

PC%: 1st (86.2%)

The Bruins have a plus-117 goal difference, giving them a comfortable lead the 2005-06 The Ottawa Senators mark of plus-107 for the highest mark of the salary cap era. Despite playing at a time when the scoring is skyrocketing, the Bruins sit in seventh place the salary cap era allowed in the fewest goals.

As strong and deep as the Bruins’ defense is, Boston has found another layer of stinginess thanks to the incredible rise of likely Vezina winner Linus Ullmark. Hockey Viz captures the impact by Boston’s top goaltender.

Of course, the Bruins create a nurturing biosphere for goalies like Ullmark, including the best penalty shootout in the NHL.

Almost gaudy depth is part of what makes the Bruins so imposing, especially after Dmitry Orlov and Tyler Bertuzzi joined that team’s embarrassment at NHL trade deadline. Reaching further back and convincing David Krejci to return tied the room together like a Lebowski carpetand Hampus Lindholm thrived to the point where he might snag a few of Charlie McAvoy’s Norris Trophy voices.

Impressively, the Bruins boast all of these strengths, yet still measure up to every other team from a best-on-best perspective.

In the case of the 2022-23 season, the Bruins combined the usual brilliance of veterans Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron with supernova-turned David Pastrnak. With 52 goals to his name, Pastrnak looks poised to finish second to Connor McDavid in the Rocket Richard Trophy ‘race’, and the Dunkins-backed winger has already set a new career high with 98 points.

With a hard salary cap, teams almost always have to hide a flaw or two. Is that really the case with the 2022-23 Bruins?

Sealing the deal is no guarantee

That being said, it’s worth noting that the two teams responsible for the all-time winning record (1995-96 Red Wings and 2018-19 Lightning) both failed to win the Stanley Cup after their historic regular seasons.

Tampa Bay ended up being one of the biggest upsets in NHL history after being swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round. Detroit fared better but was beaten by the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals.

Future championships have eased those wounds, but they serve as a warning for dominant teams like the 2022-23 Bruins. Honestly, given the NHL’s penchant for playoff glitches, they should already know that you can’t count chickens before they slip into the Stanley Cup rings.

Even if there is no upset in the first round, the Bruins are poised to face the Lightning or the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round 2 and could face a dangerous opponent like the Carolina Hurricanes or meet the New Jersey Devils. In other words, a historically great Bruins team has some real obstacles to overcome.

Don’t take it the wrong way, the Bruins are as strong a favorite as you’ll see in the modern, even-parity NHL. It is only prudent to consider the limitations of a sport that is prone to randomness.

How do the Bruins compare to some of the best teams in NHL history?

Ultimately, we don’t know if these Bruins will win the Stanley Cup. But let’s quickly compare them to some of the best teams in NHL history:

1970s Canadians: The 1976-77 team generated the best record ever at 60-8-12 for 132 points in 80 games (.825) on goal difference of plus 216.

With ties instead of shootouts and two games fewer, the 1976-77 Canadiens should probably be ahead of these Bruins even if Boston sets a new scoring record. That’s especially true if Boston can’t win a Stanley Cup, since Montreal’s record-breaking season was part of a “four peat” championship.

The NHL, of course was in a whole different league back then in a variety of ways, so many people would understandably argue that these modern Bruins pull something off more impressive. Without using time travel in a very trivial way, we are reduced to debates that are either fun, frustrating, or both.

Bobby Orr era Bruins: The In 1971-72, the Bruins had 119 points in 78 games (.763) on goal difference of plus 126.

When Orr was healthy, the Bruins won two Stanley Cups in three seasons and assembled a dominance streak that could outshine these Bruins. The 2022-23 Bruins already have more wins (57 to 54) and the same standings (119). If you prefer the 1970-71 Bruns (57-14-7, 121 points, 0.776 percentage points) this year’s roster will likely finish comfortably ahead of this iteration as well.

1980s Islanders: The 1981-82 islands went 54-16-10 for 118 points in 80 games (.738) on goal difference plus 135.

No team has won three straight Stanley Cups since the dynastic Islanders won four straight from 1980–83. Perhaps historians struggle to compare a single transcendent Bruins team to the Dynasty Islanders, and also to the team that snatched the torch from Long Island.

Oilers of the 1980s: The The 1983–84 version averaged 119 points (.744) on goal difference plus 132 and, unlike 1985–86, won a Stanley Cup.

By winning four Stanley Cups with Wayne Gretzky and one without him, the Oilers join the Islanders as teams whose overall dominance is undeniable. The “greatest player of all time” thing could nudge bar debates toward Edmonton rather than Boston, even if the Bs end up scoring far more points in the regular season.

Red Wings from the Yzerman Lidstrom era: You had them In 1995–96, it was its best season in which it never won a Stanley Cup and recorded its second-highest regular-season points with 131. During their 2002 and 2008 championship seasons, they had 116 and

Runs like the Red Wings’ probably gave rise to ideas about a “curse” on the Presidents’ Trophy, since they failed to win the trophy four times during that period when they were leading the NHL in points. So if the Bruins can finish strong and win a Stanley Cup, there could be an argument that this year’s team had a higher peak than either of those Red Wings teams.

Modern Tampa Bay Blitzes: This 2018-19 squad was swept after posting a 62-16-4 record for 128 points in 82 games played (0.781 point percentage, plus 103 goal difference).

After that shocking win, the Lightning won two straight Stanley Cups and made the finals three years in a row (with a chance to make it four). While Tampa Bay has been a strong team in the regular season since that win, they haven’t even won a division title since.

– – –

Where will the 2022-23 Bruins rank among these great teams? Amassing 62+ wins and 132+ points would elevate them in discussions, but many debates could derail if the Bruins don’t win a Stanley Cup in 2022-23.

Either way, they’ve already earned a place in NHL history, whether or not their names end up on the sport’s most iconic trophy.

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