The big bad Boston Bruins are good – historically, record.
They have a better regular season record than the Wayne Gretzky Oilers teams in the 80s. Better than the Detroit Red Wings team of the 2000s with 10 future Hall of Famers. Better than Bobby Orr’s early ’70s Bruins.
With their 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, the Bruins have 62 wins – tying the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning and the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings – and still have three games left to claim the title. record. .
It’s a stunning achievement for a team that most tipsters either barely expected to make the playoffs this year or miss out on altogether.
Here’s a look at the stats showing how good they’ve been and what that means for their chances of winning the Stanley Cup. (Spoiler alert: probably nothing.)
How the B’s compare to other teams this year
The Bruins have been so dominant this year that you can pick almost any stat and they will be at or near the top of the league. Let’s start with the most obvious: they have 129 points in the standings. The closest team, the Carolina Hurricanes, has 109.
Simply put, the gap between the Bruins and the Hurricanes is as big as the gap between the No. 2 and the No. 18 Calgary Flames, who are currently outside the Western Conference playoffs.
The Bruins lead the league in goals against, home record, away record and have the best penalty kill. They have six winning streaks of five or more games and have only once lost two consecutive games in regulation.
And when you break down the numbers further, their dominance this season only becomes clearer:
- When the Bruins score the first goal, they are almost guaranteed to win, going 41-1-3.
- Their goal difference — how many more goals they score than they give up — is plus-122, double the next best team (the Edmonton Oilers at plus-61). The Bruins are plus-50 in the third period alone.
Bruins starting goaltender also breaks records
How do the Bruins dominate like this?
Despite having Hall of Famer certainty Patrice Bergeron and 57-goal scorer David Pastrňák, the Bruins are less a team of superstars than a team of remarkable depth.
They have arguably three No. 1 defenders and two “top” lines, and they have 11 players with at least 10 goals.
Almost all of the skaters at least met expectations, but to find the player who exceeded them the most, you have to look to starting goaltender Linus Ullmark.
This season, Ullmark has:
- A record of 39-6-1, among the best win-loss records by a goaltender with at least 40 games played in the post-war period.
- A .937 save percentage (not including Saturday’s game), tied for fifth all-time.
- A performance of 54 saves against the Calgary Flames. It was a Bruins record, and they won the game.
- A goal against the Vancouver Canucks. Ullmark is the first goalie to score in Bruins history, and only the eighth goalie in the NHL to do so on a deliberate shot.
How Other Great Regular Season Teams Fared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
So with this Boston Bruins team dominating from start to finish, a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals is pretty much a done deal, isn’t it?
About it: In the post-war era, being one of the best teams in the NHL in the regular season never had a bearing on a team’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup. Except one: you’ll win the Stanley Cup if you’re a Montreal Canadiens team from the late 1970s.
The most recent team to be this dominant, the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning, didn’t even win a game in the 2019 playoffs and were swept in the first round (despite participating in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals since then).
Historic dominance aside, there hasn’t even been a first team that has won the Cup since 2013.
The Bruins, for their part, say they didn’t think about regular-season records at all.
“We’re not talking about it,” coach Jim Montgomery told local media after the Bruins became the fastest team in NHL history to score 50 wins. “We talked about what was wrong and how we can learn from it and how we can improve…
“Getting ready for the Stanley Cup playoffs is more important than anything in the regular season.”
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