Bruins Start Regular Season Off on a Historic Pace

After a heartbreaking seven-game series loss in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Boston Bruins looked forward to the 2022-2023 NHL season. Bruins fans were shocked to realize they would start better than they ever have before.

In the offseason, the Bruins obtained the team’s captain back, Patrice Bergeron, after he threatened not to return to the club following the early playoff exit. fans were delighted when general manager Don Sweeney announced that the five-time Frank J. Selke winner for the best forward who excels at defense would return on a one-year $2.5 million contract.

Adding Bergeron back into the mix for the front meant the return of one of the most successful lines in the NHL. The forward duo of David Pastrňák and Brad Marchand, with the leadership of Bergeron, is a challenging force to face for opposing defensive lines and goaltenders, tallying 51 total points with Pastrňák carrying the load of the points with 23 so far this season.

The offense has yet to be the critical component of this team. Instead, it’s been the defense and goaltending. With starting goalie Jeremy Swayman being out due to injury, veteran goaltender Linus Ullmark has stepped up and asserted himself. Ullmark has posted an NHL-best 10 wins while also possessing a .936 save percentage, 10.27 goals saved above average rate, a 1.95 GAA, and an impressive .835 save percentage on high-danger attempts. The following statistics rank in the top 5 for goaltenders in the NHL, putting him in front of the Vezina Trophy race for the best goalie in the league.

Top Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy started the season on injured reserve and missed the first 11 games. Still, rising blueliner Hampus Lindholm has shouldered the load for the team defensively. The Swedish native has been one of the best-ranked defensemen in the NHL, ranking fifth among defensemen in points with 14 points. Lindholm has also been contributing to the team defensively, owning a 14-7 goal differential and a +37 lead in scoring chances, while Lindholm has been on 367 total minutes of 5-on-5 ice time.

Closing out games has been no issue for the Bruins as they rank third in the NHL in third-period goals (21 this season) and have outscored their opponents 10-1 in third and overtime periods over the last seven games. A significant improvement from last year, where they tallied a score differential of -1 in the third period.

The blame for the seven-game series loss to the Hurricanes was put on the six-year head coach Bruce Cassidy, who was relieved of all head coaching duties on June 6, 2022. Finally, on June 30, the Bruins found their new head coach, former NHL player Jim Montgomery would make the calls from behind the bench, and he has not looked back at the opportunity. 

Montgomery specifically told the defense during training camp to be more aggressive in piloting the offense forward, even though the team has been well known for its strict and limiting defense over the past 15 years. The blue-line aggressiveness has led the Bruins to be the second-highest scoring team in the NHL with 56 goals and an increased rate in 5-on-5 as they rank fifth in the category in goal percentage (58.62%), third in high-danger scoring for percentage (65.52%) and fifth in scoring chances for percentage (54.74%). 

All these aspects have led the Bruins to a 16-2-0 start, their best start through 18 games since 1929, the first year they raised the Stanley Cup over their heads. The home record is also the best in the NHL, going 9-0-0, the only team in the NHL to not be beaten on home ice all year, and the longest season-opening win streak in franchise history. Moreover, the team is not looking back as they aim to score their way to a seventh Stanley Cup title.