During a season that’s absolutely taken on a dream-like quality for the Boston Bruins, Sunday night will go down as one of those surreal high points when its all said and done.
The Boston Bruins became the winningest regular season team in NHL history by moving past historically great Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning regular season teams with their 63rd win of the 2022-23 regular season in a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night.
No other team in the 100 plus years of the NHL has never won more games than this season’s Boston Bruins and that is the ultimate thing to brag about.
“Before the year, to be honest, you’re not hoping you get the most wins in history, it’s just not something you’re thinking about,” said Charlie Coyle. “You want to make sure you’re playing the right way and build as best you can so when playoff time comes, you’re ready to go. That’s the real season there. I guess it’s just another feather in the cap along the way of a good season.
“There are certain things that stand out, whether it’s the outdoor game [at Fenway], certain individual [accomplishments, Pasta 60, just things that keep adding up and make this season fun and what it is. This is just another one of those added things that show you how special of a group this is. We hope this is just the beginning here. But it’s definitely something we can take pride in and shows what we’ve accomplished this year.”
It was fitting that the win came on national television with the TNT celebrating Boston’s greatness before, during and after the “W”, and that equally appropriate it also happened even as the Bruins brought an incomplete lineup to Philly with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Linus Ullmark, Taylor Hall and Dmitry Orlov all sitting this one out along with injured players Nick Foligno and Derek Forbort.
Instead, the Boston Bruins lineup had Oskar Steen, Vinni Lettieri and Connor Carrick mixed among a hodge podge of regulars and Brandon Bussi serving as the back to a brilliant Jeremy Swayman, who stopped 34-of-37 shots in the win and then made an emotional tribute to his late Black Bears hockey coach after the game.
FULL interview with Jeremy Swayman.
He dedicated this game to Red Gendron, his mentor, who passed away 2 years ago today.
— Jackie Redmond (@Jackie_Redmond) April 10, 2023
Appropriately, David Pastrnak turned Sunday night’s game into an epic superstar performance where he dropped a hat trick on the Flyers to reach 60 goals for the first time in his NHL career. It’s the first time since 1995-96 that the NHL has at least two 60-goal scorers and Pastrnak joins Phil Esposito as the only two members of that exclusive club with the Black and Gold.
Pastrnak finished with 10 shots on net and truthfully could have four or five goals while hitting posts and crossbars throughout a game where he picked apart the Flyers defense. It all illustrates the overwhelming depth, sheer talent and high-wattage star-power makes the Boston Bruins such a tremendous winning machine this year, however.
They always get strong goaltending whether it’s Swayman or Ullmark in net, and that’s why the B’s are going to take home the Jennings Trophy at the end of the season. And they have enjoyed role players like Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha stepping up all season for then when they need secondary scoring or winning two-way play.
But they also pull out the NHL superstar card whenever they need it with a bona fide game-breaking force in Pastrnak, who is in the prime of his electric NHL career while hitting 300 career NHL goals prior to his 27th birthday.
Players to score their 60th goal of a season via a hat trick:
David Pastrnak (2022-23)
Wayne Gretzky (1981-82)
Mike Bossy (1980-81)@pastrnak96 also became the eighth to hit 300 career goals via a 🎩🎩🎩.#NHLStats: https://t.co/kNGYEtaUom pic.twitter.com/YX6BFUvgTS
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 10, 2023
“It’s very special,” said David Pastrnak. “It’s been a lot of fun, I’m not gonna lie. It’s been enjoyable, especially with the group we have here. We obviously knew what was at stake. It’s definitely special to hit it with the game like this. We made history today in the biggest league in hockey. We definitely appreciate it.”
Combine that with the incomparable organizational depth they enjoy that’s going to put a legitimate NHL defensemen on the bench to start the playoffs, as well as a proven NHL forward that’s going to start the playoffs watching when Nick Foligno is healthy enough to return to the lineup. That is a tribute to what B’s general manager Don Sweeney and the rest of his management group have deliberately built up over the last few seasons, with last spring’s trade for Hampus Lindholm really serving as a turning point for the Black and Gold.
It’s why a Hart Trophy winner (Taylor Hall) is on the third line and the B’s now have a top D-men trio of Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm and Dmitry Orlov that literally nobody is going to be able to match in a playoff series as long as they remain healthy through the Stanley Cup playoffs.
All of it has factored into a Boston Bruins group that’s one win away from five different seven game winning streaks this season. A team that lost consecutive games only twice all season and has turned the third period of games all season into their time to simply separate and leave the other 31 NHL teams around the league in the dust.
Whether it’s Patrice Bergeron reaching 1,000 career points, the Boston Bruins engineering a pair of third period Jake DeBrusk goals (on a broken leg, no less) into a Winter Classic victory at Fenway Park or David Pastrnak scoring 60 goals on a Sunday night in Philly, this regular season has been packed with memories that have reached their exclamation point with their 63rd win of the season.
"Probably the highlight of my life so far."
— p – Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 2, 2023
Now it comes to the final two games to see if they can notch a win to break on past the 132 points recorded by the Montreal Canadiens as arguably the greatest NHL team of all time.
“For our team, it means everything we believe in, being process-oriented, staying in the moment, caring about each other, respecting each other and how hard we play for each other, the word ‘team’ is exemplified with that group in there,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “We don’t talk about winning the Stanley Cup now. We talk about Game 1. That’s gonna be our focus. [It’s about] not looking too far ahead, that creates anxiety. We believe in staying present and our process allows us to have success and we have a lot of details within our process. That’s a simple way of saying that we like to live in the moment.”
Then it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs where all of these regular season kudos will be forgotten quickly if they can’t finish things off with the Stanley Cup championship they’ve been trying to win for veterans Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci from the very beginning of the season.