The Boston Bruins are enjoying a historic season and with 38 wins from 50 games have an opportunity to beat the 1995/96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018/19 Tampa Bay Lightning’s all-time record of 62 in a single season.
After going 38-7-5, they are already the quickest team to ever reach 80 points, doing so in 47 games which surpassed the 1943 Montreal Canadiens and 1979/80 Philadelphia Flyers who accomplished it in 49 games.
Boston have averaged the third most goals in the league (3.70), conceded the least (2.12), have the sixth highest powerplay (25.3%), and the best penalty kill (86.4%).
Aside from a recent wobble on the road which has seen them lose three games in a row, everything about Boston's campaign has been impressive and there are several reasons for it.
26-year-old forward David Pastrnak has been a major factor in the Bruins’ offensive success and his 71 points and 38 goals both rank top five in the league.
14 of his goals have come on the powerplay which is joint-fourth most in the NHL and he has the fifth most points on the man advantage with 28.
Pastrnak is three goals behind Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL's top goal scorer and is 9/4 to surpass him and win the award.
Pastrnak’s production has been well supplemented with nine of Boston's players on 30 or more points.
Their 185 goals are second only to Edmonton Oilers and while their powerplay has been a key part of their success, they haven’t relied on that and their 118 goals at even-strength is second only to Seattle Kraken.
Such scoring depth will be important when it comes to playoff time as beyond the top line of Pastrnak, Captain Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, the Bruins' offence has dried up in recent post-seasons, leading to early exits.
The Bruins have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since losing to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins fired six-year coach Bruce Cassidy in the summer, frustrated by the lack of playoff success and feeling as though the environment under the now Vegas Golden Knights boss had become too negative for players to flourish.
He was replaced by Jim Montgomery whose approach has refreshed the Bruins' dressing room and given them a new lease of life.
53-year-old Montgomery is making the most of his second chance as an NHL coach, after the first with Dallas Stars ended in dismissal due to issues surrounding alcoholism.
Montgomery sought help and his recovery is said to have helped him focus on the positives, accept mistakes, and develop a humane side which the Bruins players admit having appreciated.
Montgomery is 4/11 To Win the Jack Adams award as coach of the year which would be just reward for the work he has put in to turn his career around.
36-year-old forward David Krejci returned to the Bruins in the off-season following a year back home playing in his native Czechia.
The centreman was drafted by Boston in 2004 and spent 15 seasons with the Bruins before seemingly calling his NHL career a day following the 2020/21 campaign.
Saying he feels “back where he belongs”, Krejci’s addition back into the locker room has been publicly welcomed by several of the Bruins players, including Bergeron and Marchand who won the Stanley Cup with him in 2011.
Motivated by the opportunity to achieve something special again together, the trio have played a key role in the Bruins’ remarkable success this season and all sit within the team’s top five-point scorers.
In addition to their offensive contribution, all three have been praised by coach Montgomery for their leadership and the intangibles they bring that aren’t recorded on the scoreboard.
With Tomas Nosek, Charile Coyle, Krejci and Bergeron down the middle, Boston are the second-best face-off team in the league, winning 55.3% of draws which has allowed them to dominate possession and pile up shots in games.
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Netminder Linus Ullmark shared starts with Jeremy Swayman during his debut season with the Bruins but the Swede has well and truly won the number-one position following a run of stunning form.
The 29-year-old has become the quickest goalie ever to reach 25 wins, doing so in 31 games with a league best .937 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average which makes him 4/7 To Win the Vezina Trophy as netminder of the year.
Ullmark's form has helped Boston record a +78-goal differential which is by far the best in the league, 38 ahead of the next best Dallas Stars.
The Bruins have lost just once on home ice and went an all-time NHL record 14 games unbeaten to start the season at TD Garden.
In last season's playoffs, Boston lost in seven games at the first-round stage to Carolina Hurricanes, winning all three games at home, but losing all four on the road.
1/5 to finish top of the NHL standings and win the Presidents' Trophy, the Bruins will consider that crucial as it'll guarantee them home ice advantage throughout the playoffs which they are 5/1 To Win and deliver a seventh Stanley Cup to Boston.