BOSTON – In a season full of extreme numbers, the Boston Bruins know exactly what value they put on winning the most games in NHL history.
“Zero,” defenseman Charlie McAvoy said last week, a day before Boston became the fastest team in history to 50 wins. “Bottom of anything I care about.”
The Bruins have been cruising through the regular season, and racking up milestones along the way. But even though they could amass the most wins ever – and most points, too — the players and brass insist they don’t have any interest in the biggest regular-season records of all.
“We play for the Stanley Cup,” Bruins President Cam Neely said flatly. “I tell everybody, ‘Enjoy the ride, but it’s all about the Stanley Cup.’”
The Bruins were coming off back-to-back 100-point seasons – and three straight early playoff exits – when they fired coach Bruce Cassidy last summer and hired Jim Montgomery to replace him. Key players like McAvoy, a Norris Trophy contender, and Brad Marchand, the team’s No. 2 scorer, were recovering from surgery, but the Bruins didn’t wait until they were at full strength.
They won six of seven games before Marchand got back on the ice, moving to the top of the Eastern Conference in the second week of the season; McAvoy’s return helped boost them to the league’s No. 1 overall seed, where they have remained since Veteran’s Day. They didn’t lose at home in regulation until January.
They were the fastest team in NHL history to 100 points and 50 wins, and the first one to clinch a playoff berth this year. Still, after winning their 50th game, which also turned out to be the playoff clincher, goalie Linus Ullmark couldn’t be less enthusiastic.
“Congrats to us, then,” he said. “I guess.”
Boston has a chance to post the most wins in NHL history, surpassing the 62 by the 1995-96 Red Wings and tied by the 2018-19 Lightning. It also has a chance to surpass the record 132 points amassed by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens.
But for a team that has already won the Presidents’ Trophy twice since 2004 – and failed to win the Cup both times – a league-leading third top finish doesn’t hold much allure.
“To me, the regular season (record), it is nice,” captain Patrice Bergeron said. “But you’re working hard to get into the playoffs. And that’s where the main focus is.”
Montgomery said the team hasn’t talked about the records, instead…
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