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  • The historic regular season continues as Bruins tie NHL wins record

    Tim Rosenthal April 9, 2023

    The 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning have company.

    On Saturday night, the Boston Bruins earned their 62nd win of the 2022-23 season, tying the NHL single-season mark. Now they need just one victory in their next three games to stand alone in the record books.

    “Any time you’re talking about putting your team’s name and putting our ‘Spoked B’ in the history book for the most wins in the regular season is special,” head coach Jim Montgomery said.

    On Saturday, they faced the toughest test of their remaining regular season tilts.

    With the Carolina Hurricanes dropping a 4-3 decision in Buffalo earlier in the day, the New Jersey Devils entered TD Garden with a chance to take over first place in the Metropolitan Division. But their ascension to the top of the Metro will have to wait.

    Former Devil Pavel Zacha struck twice to give Boston a quick 2-0 lead 4:44 in. The Czech center, filling in for the injured David Krejci, notched a tip on the power-play two minutes and followed with a bounce off the boards for his 20th of the season just 2:44 later.

    Jesper Bratt cut the New Jersey deficit to 2-1 with a nifty breakaway tally. That marked Linus Ullmark’s lone blemish of the evening.


    The Swede delivered another Vezina-caliber performance in his goaltending duel with Mackenzie Blackwood (38 saves), stopping all but one of the 30 shots he faced.

    Here’s what we learned from Boston’s record-tying triumph in front of a rowdy Causeway Street faithful.

    The Bruins fully grasp the historical significance of the wins record.

    “I told them congratulations,” Montgomery said. “Incredible feat, and tomorrow we have an opportunity in Philly to set the record for wins.”

    Montgomery didn’t have to say much to his players after their 62nd win.

    The Bruins may have publicly dodged a few questions about their record-setting pace earlier in the year. But as that magic number approached, they began to share a bit more insight into the potential historic accomplishment.

    Within the locker room, however, the tight-knit B’s fully embraced the historical significance, not for the impressive individual accomplishments — like Wayne Gretzky surpassing Gordie Howe’s goals and points records — but rather from a team perspective.

    “I think they do grasp it because we’re talking about the history of the NHL and you talk about how long this league has been here,” Montgomery added. “I think they grasp it like when Gretzky broke Howe’s record. It’s an individual feat, and everyone is aware of it. But our group is aware of what we’re doing as a team.”

    Make no mistake, however. The Bruins remain in the moment.

    Now they’re off to Philadelphia with a chance to break the record Sunday night. Yet they know their historic season will go for naught if they don’t end their 12-year Stanley Cup drought.

    “It’s a feather in the cap,” Lindholm said. “But we’re fighting for something bigger in here.”

    The Devils presented a formidable challenge to the record book

    Saturday’s Bruins-Devils matchup had that playoff feel.

    The Bruins easily could’ve continued to rest more of their battle-tested core with the second season approaching in just one week. Aside from Krejci, however, they fielded their healthiest post-trade deadline lineup.

    Taylor Hall, who missed the last 20 games with a lower-body injury, returned to his spot on the third line next to Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic. It didn’t take long for the former Devil to shake off the cobwebs and engage.

    “To come back and feel the pace of the game, you turn into a hockey player pretty clearly,” Hall said. “It was packed tonight. It was a really good atmosphere from the drop of the puck and a really fun game to play. To tie the record and be a part of that, that’s what I wanted to come back and do to help our team. It was a lot of fun.”

    The Bruins had their hands full against a Devils squad hoping to leapfrog Carolina.

    The two teams traded scoring chances throughout Saturday’s tilt. They embraced the heat of the moment during a tight-checking, back-and-forth affair filled with timely saves by Ullmark and Blackwood and tense post-whistle exchanges from the opening faceoff to the final horn.

    As usual, the Bruins stayed consistent. Their trust in one another helped them come together for another spirited win in their second-to-last home game of the season.

    That consistency will only bode well for them as spring progresses.

    “The way we played throughout the year, we know we can come back and extend leads, and keep leads,” Ullmark said. “Playing these tight games is a lot of fun. This is going to prepare you for the playoffs, and it’s always a little bit sweeter when you go out there and win these ones.”

    The Bruins are officially in Cup or bust territory

    Every team who enters the playoffs with the Presidents’ Trophy in hand will always have the biggest target.

    The Bruins, however, aren’t any ordinary Presidents’ Trophy recipient.

    The Devils presented the toughest challenge of their remaining four games. The Bruins conclude their regular season with a three-game slate featuring a trio of teams eliminated from postseason contention in the Flyers, Capitals and Canadiens.

    Not only is the wins record in sight, but the all-time points mark of 132 set by the 1976-77 Canadiens remains in jeopardy. The Bruins sit three points shy of the legendary Montreal squad coached by Scotty Bowman.

    Bowman also led the 1995-96 Red Wings to 62 wins. The Colorado Avalanche halted their Stanley Cup dreams in the Western Conference Final. Detroit won back-to-back Cups in the subsequent two years.

    Jon Cooper’s Lightning matched the all-time wins mark just four seasons ago. The Columbus Blue Jackets embarrassed Tampa in a first-round sweep. Like Detroit, the Lightning won back-to-back cups in the 2020 playoff bubble in Canada and the 2021 COVID-shortened campaign.

    Montgomery dreams of having his name etched on the Cup like Bowman and Cooper. But he wants to accomplish that task by completing a potential once-in-a-lifetime season.

    “It’s awesome. But I rather get Stanley Cups that they have than have this. And that’s what we’re chasing,” Montgomery said.

    “Ultimately, this is great. Our regular season has been great, but we need to win of the last game of the season. And that’s what we’re leaning towards. Being able to stay focused and learn how to win when we’re chasing records is the closest thing you can do when you’re having a season like us to prepare us for the playoffs. That was a playoff-type game, and I think we really managed the game well, offensively, defensively and special teams.”

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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