- As of Jan. 24, the Boston Bruins are leading the NHL with a record of 37-5-4.
- The team has 78 points after just 46 games.
- Going into the 2023 season, the Bruins and Canadiens have played 931 games.
- The Canadiens hold an all-time record of 469-348-103-11.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Boston Bruins were unstoppable. Forty-six games into the 2022-23 season, the Bruins’ record of 37-5-4 has established them as the team to beat.
“They’re a veteran team,” Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis told the media before his team faced the Bruins on Jan. 24. “They’re very connected and organized. It takes time to build that.”
He’s not wrong.
Team captain Patrice Bergeron made his debut with the Bruins during the 2003-04 season, Brad Marchand followed in 2009-10, and David Pastrnak wasn’t far behind in 2014-15. Brandon Carlo (2016-17), Matt Grzelcyk (2016-17), Jake DeBrusk (2017-18), and Charlie McAvoy (2017-18) have also spent their entire NHL careers in Boston, and the list goes on.
Take a look back at win No. 2️⃣0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/WwPyeNyUHe
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 4, 2022
The Bruins are developing and keeping their talent from NHL debut through to retirement, and that system means that new players can slot right into a winning culture without a hitch. It’s hard to maintain, but it’s proving even harder to beat.
Looking at the current standings, it’s not a close race for first place. After the Bruins, the next team in the league is the Carolina Hurricanes, but their 29-9-8 record puts them a not-insignificant 12 points back. Meanwhile, the Canadiens — Boston’s infamous rival — are all the way down in 26th place.
Bruins vs. Canadiens Rivalry
As two of the Original Six NHL teams competing in the Atlantic division, the rivalry between the Bruins and Canadiens is widely regarded as one of the greatest in sport. The two teams have met 931 times as of Jan. 24, with Montreal holding an all-time record of 469-348-103-11. The Canadiens have won 23 Stanley Cups in the franchise’s history compared to the Bruins’ six.
With the Bruins now on top of their game and the Canadiens deep in a development year, the tables seem to have turned. After 47 games, Montreal has a record of 20-24-3, so what does that mean for the rivalry this year?
“I’ve been a Canadiens fan my whole life and have followed the rivalry, so for me to be a part of it is really very special,” Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj told me in the locker room on Jan. 24. “They’re a good team, but that means it’ll feel even better to stop them.”
Boston Bruins Record 2022-23
As of Jan. 24, the Bruins are 37-5-4 in 46 games with Stanley Cup odds of +550. In 2021-22, the team’s regular season record of 51-26-5 secured them a playoff berth, but they were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round. In the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, they ended the regular season 33-16-7 but were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round by the New York Islanders.
Boston has advanced to the playoffs every season since 2016-17, though they haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 2010-11. With the way things are going, perhaps 2023 will be the year that ends the drought.
"We all know the history behind both clubs. It’s always special to be here at the Bell Centre." — Patrice Bergeron on tonight's matchup against the Canadiens in Montreal pic.twitter.com/hZ966hldQN
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 24, 2023
Could This Be the Best Bruins Team In Franchise History?
The 2022-23 Bruins are fierce, but are they the best Bruins team that’s ever skated? The team to beat is that of the 1970-71 season, and well, they make it difficult.
The Bruins ended the 1970-71 season with a 57-14-7 record and 121 points. They hold the NHL record as the eighth-highest point-scoring team in a single season, with first place held by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens (132 points).
With 78 points after just 46 games, 121 points, or even 132 points is still in the question for the 2022-23 Bruins. Fans could be watching history in real time.
Still, that’s not comforting if you’re about to face them on the ice.
“We don’t really focus too much on the other team,” said Canadiens’ defenseman Chris Wideman when I asked him about the rivalry. “The Bruins are a good team, and it’s going to be a challenge, but we’ll be ready for them.”