As of today, the Bruins have played 62-games of the 82 2022-23 regular season schedule, probably a good time to reflect back and see what has been accomplished to this point. With the recent completion of the NHL Trade Deadline, it’s time to extend kudos to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, for a job well done. The trades that Sweeney made, and didn’t make, appear to have been spot-on decisions to fill the few needs for this already strong team. The major move that brought both Dimitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Hub in a trade with the Washington Capitals, and Tyler Bertuzzi here from Detroit, to solidify the current roster in a way that few would’ve imagined could’ve been done. Orlov’s nine points since arriving in Boston has him looking like a perfect fit, and also earned him the NHL’s “1st Star of the Week.”
It wasn’t just Sweeney’s Trade Deadline moves that created this team that sits atop the NHL, but also moves as the ‘had-to-be-done,’ 8-year contract extension for David Pastrnak. Pasta, the team’s points leader earned that contract over the years, and his 84 points (44 goals/40 assists) production thus far this season, is a good indication that he will continue to produce strongly for the remaining eight years.
Consistency has always been a major part of this team; their meetings last Monday with the New York Rangers, resulted in a solid 4-2 win, with four different goals scorers. That win was their 10th consecutive, and for Linus Ullmark, it marked a career high seventh consecutive victory. One of the major strengths for this Bruins team has been the impressive play of their goaltending tandem of Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. Ullmark’s numbers are 32-4-0-1, Goals Against Average of 1.89 and a Save Percentage of .938, with Swayman standing tall as backup with a 16-4-0-4 Goals Against Average of 2.27 and a Save Percentage of .918…it doesn’t get any better than that. Another interesting factoid is the Goal Differential of +105 with 237 Goals For, versus 132 Goals Against, oddly the 105 is almost the same number as the teams’ total points this season (103). The Bruins’ record of 49-8-5 has them at the top of the NHL, with the spacing of followers in the Eastern Conference as, the Carolina Hurricanes trail by 11 points, New Jersey Devils (15 points), and the Toronto Maple Leafs 17 points).
Remembering back to when Jim Montgomery was first interviewed after being named Bruins’ head coach, replacing Bruce Cassidy, one of his first statement was: “I want the defense to be more involved in the offensive attack.” His wish has been granted, as the numbers show, when the Bruins’ defense scores, the team is 23-1-0 in 24 games…check that box off as a ‘yes.’ Comparing last season’s (2021-22) defensive contributions shows numbers of 31 goals and 119 assists for 150 points, this season with 20 games remaining, they have already surpassed that mark with 32 goals and 125 assists for 157 points. The Bruins will play their next two games on TD Garden ice, tonight (Thursday 7:30pm) with the NHL’s best player, Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, and a Saturday 1:00pm matinee and the Detroit Red Wings. It’s back on the road again for a 5-game road trip, including the second half of their back-to-back with the Red Wings (Sunday 1:30pm), off to face the Chicago Blackhawks (Tuesday 8:30pm), and Thursday 8:00pm to be hosted by the Winnipeg Jets. The two remaining road games will include stops in Minnesota and Buffalo to end the 5-game road trip.