- Emily Kaplan is ESPN’s national NHL reporter.
The Boston Bruins have tied the NHL’s single-season record with 62 wins, joining the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bruins matched the milestone Saturday night when Pavel Zacha scored two goals in the first five minutes to propel them to a 2-1 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils. Linus Ullmark stopped 29 shots for Boston, which won its fifth straight and its 12th in 13 tries.
Now the Bruins — who have already wrapped up the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage through the Stanley Cup playoffs — have three games remaining in the regular season to become the first team in NHL history to reach 63 wins. Boston plays Philadelphia, Washington and Montreal, all non-playoff teams, before its regular season wraps Thursday.
Consistently throughout the season, Bruins players have said the NHL’s single-season wins record didn’t mean much to them, as the only thing they were chasing is a Stanley Cup. However, coach Jim Montgomery told ESPN last week that once the record became within reach, he underscored to his team how incredible an accomplishment it would be to do something no team had ever done in the 100-plus year history of the league.
The Bruins have led the NHL all season, which was surprising because expectations were tempered following a first-round playoff exit to Carolina last spring. Boston began the season with two of its biggest stars, defenseman Charlie McAvoy and winger Brad Marchand, on injured reserve. The Bruins also underwent a coaching change, turning to Montgomery after six seasons of Bruce Cassidy.
But Boston has been one of the most complete teams in the league, regularly rolling four lines and getting standout goaltending from Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. The Bruins added reinforcements at the trade deadline, acquiring Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from Washington and Tyler Bertuzzi from Detroit. Boston has also been boosted by a career year from star winger David Pastrnak, whose 57 goals trail only Connor McDavid for the league lead. Pastrnak signed an eight-year, $90 million extension in March.
The Bruins have rallied around winning one more Stanley Cup for their captain, 37-year-old Patrice Bergeron, who opted to come back on a one-year deal this season instead of retiring.
Boston has been the Cup favorite at Caesars Sportsbook since the middle of December. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bruins are the fourth team in the NHL’s modern era to sit atop its division standings for the entire season, joining the 2008-09 Sharks, 1984-85 Oilers and 1977-78 Canadiens. The Oilers and Canadiens went on to win the Stanley Cup in those respective years; the Sharks lost in the opening round.
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