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  • Writer's pictureTony G.

A Season For The Ages: How The 2022-23 Boston Bruins Became The Most Unlikely Team To Chase History

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

Come with me on a journey if you will. One that begins with question marks and culminates in one of, if not, the single greatest seasons in NHL history.

It’s the morning of June 27, 2022. The Colorado Avalanche are nursing hangovers after celebrating their latest Stanley Cup victory in Tampa Bay. Most of the hockey world is fast asleep and has been for hours. With the exception of one man, Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney. OK. Maybe this is an embellishment but I am trying to set a very specific tone. Most GMs are burning the midnight oil as soon as the season ends, trying to figure out where the season went wrong and how to end up in the same place the Avalanche are in a year’s time.

Things are slightly different for Sweeney. Expectations are always high in Boston. Since 2008, each of the 4 major sports teams in the city have won at least one championship. Duck boat parades have become a normal yearly occurrence. But the 2021-22 season ended with more questions than answers.

After ending the season with 107 points, their playoff run ended with a first round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Shortly after the season, they decided to move on from long time Head Coach, Bruce Cassidy. Questions arose about the future of Patrice Bergeron. Their best defenseman, Charlie McAvoy, was set to be out for six months after shoulder surgery and one of their top scorers, Brad Marchand, was set to miss the same amount of time after hip surgery. The 107 points from the season was only good enough to land a wild card spot in a loaded Eastern Conference, so having two of their stars miss two months of action could put the team in a position to miss the playoffs or be in a dog fight from Christmas on to snag one of the wild card spots.

Sweeney’s earlier acquisition of Hampus Lindholm helped soften the blow of losing McAvoy. The team traded 3rd line center Eric Haula to New Jersey for Pavel Zacha to add scoring depth. David Krejci returned from his one-year sabbatical in his home country. They hired Jim Montgomery to replace Cassidy behind the bench. Sweeney had done what was needed to keep the team afloat until it’s stars returned and the B’s looked like a team that would be in the mix at season’s end. No one expected what would happen next.

The Bruins started the season on a tear, winning 22 of their first 25 games. They would record their 100th point of the season on March 2nd and would not lose their 10th game in regulation until March 12th. David Pastrnak is having a better scoring season than anyone in the NHL not named Connor McDavid and Linus Ullmark seems to be running away with the Vezina trophy. Sweeney added even more depth at the trade deadline acquiring Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals as well as Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings. With 14 games to go, the Bruins sit atop the Eastern Conference with an 11 point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for the number one seed in the playoffs.

What makes this race to the end even more special is where this season could rank in NHL history. With 28 points available, Boston can surpass the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens for the most points in a season at 132 points. The Bruins currently have won 80% of the points available this season and would need to win 12 of their last 14 games, an 86% win percentage, to break the record. The Bruins have gone on win streaks of 10 (x1), 7 (x2), and 6 (x1) during the season and have only had two instances where they have lost multiple games in a row. Their record against the remaining teams on their schedule is 20-5-2, winning 42/54 points in those contests (78%). They have outscored those opponents 98-54 and only have a negative goal differential against Carolina and the Ottawa Senators. While it would take one hell of a run for the B’s to set the record, they have shown that they can go on the necessary runs to make it happen. With 10 of the last 14 being very winnable games, the Bruins need to take two of four from Carolina, Toronto, New Jersey, and Tampa Bay to get to the 12 wins necessary. In a finale that could not be scripted any better by Hollywood's greatest writers, the Bruins travel to Montreal for what could potentially be the record setting game. And they say sports can’t be romantic…

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