During the offseason, there were many questions facing the Boston Bruins. Was Patrice Bergeron going to return? How about David Krejci? Once those questions were answered the focus was on how the Bruins would fare with injuries to Matt Grzelcyk, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy to start the season.
If you listened to many of the experts, they were telling you teams on the rise like the Buffalo Sabres or the Detroit Red Wings or the Ottawa Senators would be in the hunt and the likeliest teams to drop out of the race would be the Washington Capitals from the Metropolitan Division and your Boston Bruins from the Atlantic Division.
Those same experts were also telling us that for the Bruins to remain in playoff contention, they would have to be around the NHL .500 mark when the injured players returned. Of course, we all know now that they returned ahead of schedule and McAvoy just played his second game of the season.
And where are they?
Tied for top spot in the NHL with the Vegas Golden Knights for the Bruce Cassidy Cup. (Thank you NHL Network Radio).
Heading into Sunday night’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Bruins are 13-2-0 and have a 7-point lead over second place Toronto Maple Leafs (with a game in hand).
There are many ways to measure the “best start in hockey”. For instance, the best 30 game start in NHL history belongs to the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and the 2008-09 San Jose Sharks with 25 victories in their first 30 games. With 15 games played, the Bruins are at the halfway point and on pace for 26 wins.
During the 2012-2013 season, the Chicago Blackhawks had at least one point in each of its first 23 games (20-0-3). During the 2006-07 season, the Ottawa Senators got off to a 13-1-0 record. A year earlier the Anaheim Ducks got off to a 12-0-4 record while at the same time the Buffalo Sabres came out of the gate flying with a 15-1-1 record. During the 1993-94 season the Toronto Maple Leafs got off to a 12-1-3 record and before that, the Edmonton Oilers got off to a 12-0-3 record during the 1984-85 season.
No matter how you measure it, it’s safe to say the Bruins are off to one of the best starts in NHL history.
Everything we were told in the offseason can be thrown out the window now. It was obviously incorrect. So, the question becomes: is it sustainable?
No. I don’t think so. But the Bruins have left themselves in excellent position. They are getting healthy and quickly. Only Derek Forbort and Jeremy Swayman are in the infirmary and are expected back sooner rather than later. A win against the Canucks on Sunday and the Bruins can hit the inevitable three, four, five game losing streak and still be on top of their division. And the worst part for division opponents is that the Bruins are just 3-2 against division rivals. When they improve on that then things are looking fantastic.
The talk amongst media people now has shifted from “can the Bruins make the playoffs” to “can the Bruins win their division?”
Most believe they can as does yours truly. And even though they survived some serious injuries to some of their most key players to start the year, they can’t risk having to go through that again. If they can remain relatively healthy, they can and will challenge for the President’s Trophy. Or was that the Bruce Cassidy Cup?