Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark hug after a win.
On April 9th, the Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3, clinching their 63rd win of the season. This win celebrated multiple occasions and landmarks. 63 wins are the most ever from a team in a single season. In second place are the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning. In addition to this honor, Bruins star David Pastrnak scored a hat trick, giving him 60 goals in the season and 300 for his career. For goaltender Jeremy Swayman, this win meant a lot, as it took place exactly three years after his closest mentor and UMaine coach died. In addition to the date, Swayman was also in Philly at the time. To celebrate this win, Jeremy pointed to the sky before being mobbed by teammates in a big group hug.
This season has been incredible and blown past expectations. Even with Captain Patrice Bergeron signing a one-year contract and the return of Veteran David Krejci, the summer was full of uncertainties. This included the firing of longtime coach Bruce Cassidy and injuries to Brad Marchand and Charlie MacAvoy. Despite these injuries, by the time both were back in November, the Bruins had a record of 11-2. The Bruins have not stopped these winning tendencies as they finish the regular season 65–12–5. Before the 63rd win, the Bruins set records such as fastest to 100 points and fastest to 50 wins. On April 11, the Bruins broke the points record with 133 points.
One of the backbones of this team has been outstanding goaltending. A goalie tandem is usually defined by mediocrity. It is rare to have two great goalies, which usually results in the consistent play of one. Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman have been just that. Linus Ullmark has been a brick wall this season, with 49 games played and a 0.938 save percentage, leading the NHL. He had 40 wins this season and, most spectacularly, has become the first Bruins goalie (13th in the NHL) to score a goal. The second half of this tandem is young Jeremy Swayman. Swayman has played 36 games with a 0.922 save percentage. Not only are the two goalies spectacular on the ice, but they are close off the ice. This season they started a tradition of a goalie hug after every game. When asked about it, Swayman responded, “ Yeah, I mean, I’m glad you noticed it, because it’s so genuine man.” The friendship continues outside of the rink with families. Swayman also added that “There’s no one I’ll ever meet like him again.”
The love for the team is not just between the goalies. The Bruins have continuously stressed how much fun they have together. “It’s been a lot of fun, I’m not going to lie. It’s been enjoyable, especially with the group we have here,” Pastrnak said. The team is led by Captain Patrice Bergeron, who is widely known as the nicest guy in the league. Coach Jim Mongomery once mentioned that on multiple occasions, he has gone to players to discuss something that had been bothering them, and they replied that “Bergy” had already discussed it with them.
This season has also been a great season for forward Jake Debrusk. While this is Debrusk’s 6th season with the Bruins, he struggled, especially last year. He disagreed with former Coach Bruce Cassidy, and at one point, requested a trade out of Boston. With the addition of Head Coach Jim Montgomery, Debrusk has performed incredibly, scoring both goals in the 2023 winter classic before missing time with a fractured fibula.
The Bruins have made history this year with their regular season, but there is still more to accomplish. Even with their incredible season in 2019, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won 62 that year, got swept in the first round of The Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets (later eliminated by the Bruins). The 1995-96 Red Wings, who also had 62 wins, lost in the Western Conference Finals. In fact, since 2013, no Presidents Trophy winner (won the most games that season) has won the Stanley Cup. While much is to be celebrated, the Bruins can’t be too confident. Every team must be taken seriously, especially in the Eastern Conference, which has been incredibly strong all year.