Question: Is this historic Bruins season only a success if they win the Stanley Cup this coming June?
The short answer? Yes.
The long answer? Well let’s look at some postseason odds, powered by FanDuel Sportsbook, to help tell the story of Boston’s historic season:
Odds to Win Stanley Cup
Boston Bruins +340
Colorado Avalanche +800
Edmonton Oilers +800
Toronto Maple Leafs +900
New Jersey Devils +1100
Carolina Hurricanes +1200
New York Rangers +1200
Vegas Golden Knights +1200
Dallas Stars +1600
Tampa Bay Lightning +1700
Odds to Win Conn Smythe Trophy
David Pastrnak +1200
Connor McDavid +1200
Linus Ullmark +1600
Nathan MacKinnon +2000
Mikko Rantanen +2500
Brad Marchand +2500
Patrice Bergeron +2500
Cale Makar +2500
Auston Matthews +2500
The Bruins are the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup, they have four players in the top nine for odds to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (given to the MVP of the postseason), and they finished the regular season with the best record in NHL history at 65-12-5.
Over an 82-game sample size, Boston won 65 of them, good for an almost 80% winning percentage. So statistically, they should rummage right through the postseason given that you need to win just 57% of games (4/7) per series.
That’s obviously not the only factor. So let’s look at each piece of the pie individually:
Forward David Pastrnak put together the best season of his young career in 2022, tallying 61 (!!) goals and 113 total points over Boston’s 82 games.
This season wasn’t just the Pasta show, however. Boston had eight players score 50 points or more. Brad Marchand (67 P, 21 G, 46 A), Patrice Bergeron (58 P, 27 G, 31 A), Pavel Zacha (57 P, 21 G, 26 A), David Krejci (56 P, 16 G, 40 A), Hampus Lindholm, (53 P, 10 G, 43 A), Charlie McAvoy (52 P, 7 G, 45 A), and Jake DeBrusk (50 P 27 G, 23 A), all pitched in tremendously for a Bruins offense that netted 3.66 goals per game, good for second highest in the NHL.
The list above doesn’t even include the likes of Taylor Hall, Tyler Bertuzzi, Charlie Coyle, and Nick Foligno – who all contribute to this dominating offense as well.
Take a bow, Linus Ullmark.
Boston’s starting goaltender was absolutely sensational this season, and it pretty much came out of nowhere. After the Bruins signed him to a two-year, $10 million contract prior to last season, heads were spinning across the Commonwealth trying to figure out why Don Sweeney signed a middling goalie with marginal success to that kind of deal.
Well, he proved us all wrong.
In 47 starts, Ullmark went 40-6-1, led the entire NHL in wins (40), save percentage (.938), and goals-against average (1.89), and is the overwhelming favorite to win the Vezina Trophy. He should also be in contention for MVP.
Backup Jeremy Swayman held his own in net this season as well. He went 24-6-4 in his 34 starts and was fourth in the NHL in both goals against average (2.27), and save percentage (.920).
These Boston goaltenders didn’t dominate all by themselves, however. The Bruins defense was outstanding in 2022-23. They led the league in power play kill percentage (87.3%), allowed just 174 goals (the least in the NHL), and helped the guys between the pipes put up six shutouts.
On top of this, (and while this isn’t solely a defensive stat) when you peruse the NHL’s stat sheet from 2022-23 you’ll notice one thing sticking out like a sore thumb: Hampus Lindholm (49), Matt Grzelcyk (46), and Brandon Carlo (44) were 1-2-3 in plus/minus this season. These Boston defensemen held it down all year long on both ends of the ice.
So – given Boston’s pure dominance combined with the three above factors – the short answer, still, is yes:
This season should only be deemed a true success if the Bruins are hoisting the Stanley Cup in mid-June. Barring injury, there really is no excuse for them not to.
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