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The 2022-23 Boston Bruins have broken the NHL record for the fewest games to reach 50 wins. However, if history is any indicator, they may not want to start planning a Stanley Cup parade early.
The Bruins have had a stellar first season under head coach Jim Montgomery. They’ve been the toast of the league this season and for good reason. They cemented their place in the record books with a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.
That means the Bruins have reached the 50-win mark in just 64 games. The previous record was 66 games and was shared by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lighting.
What do both of those teams have in common? Neither one won the Stanley Cup.
The 1995-96 Red Wings had an infamous Western Conference Finals run-in with Colorado Avalanche, who went on to win the Cup. As for the Lighting, their playoff exit was as unceremonious as they come: they were bounced in the first round after being swept by John Tortorella’s Columbus Blue Jackets.
Will that same fate befall the Boston Bruins?
Uh… probably not?
The Bruins Will Tear Through The First Round
The Bruins would have to have the wheels completely fall off in the final month of the season to not lock up the President’s trophy and home ice for the duration of the playoffs. It’s inevitable.
Now, the Bruins will make short work of whichever Eastern Conference team limps into the playoffs in the second wild-card spot.
But wouldn’t you have said that about the ’18-’19 Lightning?
But the Blue Jackets won 7 of 8 going into the playoffs. They were also as loaded as that franchise has ever been. Artemi Panarin, Nick Foligno, Seth Jones Brandon Dubinsky, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson, and Sergei Bobrovsky (none of them still play in Columbus).
That was one of those teams that had all the pieces in place and peaked at the right time. Is there any team like that now?
Are the Penguins, Islanders, Senators, or Panthers going to do that this year? I don’t think so unless Sergei Bobrovsky wants to ruin another President Trophy-winning team’s summer.
The Eastern Conference Presents Their Biggest Challenges
While I would bet that farm that the Bruins will breeze through the first round, it’s everything after that (save for the Cup Finals, oddly enough) that should make them nervous.
They’ll have to face some combination of the Rangers, Leafs, Hurricanes, and/or Devils at some point. Any of those teams could end their run and I wouldn’t be stunned.
If the Bruins can get through the Easter Conference Finals, that’s when it’s safe to start polishing the Duck Boats for a Cup parade.
No team in the Western Conference can touch them. Unless they get some help. and the injury bug decimates the Bruins lineup in the run-up to Cup Finals. Still, Boston has so much depth that even with a few key injuries they should be fine I think top teams out west like the Golden Knights, Stars, or Kraken would be lucky to steal a couple of games. I just don’t think they can steal four of them.
At some point, a record-setting team like this needs to buck the trend, and it looks more and more like this year’s Bruins are that team.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle