By: Will Montanez | Follow me on Twitter @Willfro3
The B’s sealed a tightly contested win over with a shutout effort on Tuukka Rask’s 33rd birthday on March 10, 2020. With that win, they summited the 100 point threshold for the third season in a row, the sixth time in the past decade and the 24th time in their illustrious 95 years of competition. With the NHL’s hiatus in response to coronavirus fears, the team remains the only franchise to post that many points in the current season that finds itself in jeopardy. In honor of the team’s achievement, we’ll take a look at the top-six best regular seasons in franchise history.
The NHL’s schedule has changed through time as teams have been added to and dropped from the League. The points awarding scheme has also changed, progressing from different formats to the current two-point system that features the dreaded loser point. To avoid controversy, it is best to consider points percentage as the key indicator of dominant seasons since it normalizes for games played and how points are doled out to teams in the case of overtime, ties, shoot-outs and the like. With this criteria in mind, let’s see how the current iteration of the Black ‘n’ Gold compares to the great teams of yore.
6.) 2013-14 Boston Bruins; Pts Percentage: .713
This is the position that Bruce Cassidy’s 2019-20 squad would claim if the season had officially ended today. The regular schedule has not yet played through and may be canceled or altered in some way, so it must be omitted from the all-time lists until the dust settles. The sixth-best season in B’s history, therefore, goes to Claude Julien and his post-Seguin-trade roster.
That controversial blockbuster brought in Reilly Smith and Loui Eriksson from Dallas and then General Manager, Peter Chiarelli, further bolstered the win-now group by signing Jarome Iginla, Carl Soderberg. The coaching staff identified two talented young defensemen from the franchise’s system to add to the back-end when Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug proved they were ready for the Show after strong training camp and playoff appearances respectively.
In spite of an injury-riddled season for many of the team’s regulars, indicated by their 202 man-games-lost, the Bruins remained competitive throughout the season. The team went on a 12 game run, with only one game going beyond extra time while outscoring the opposition 47 to 17 late in the campaign. When all of the games were wrapped up, the Bruins found themselves atop of the League in points with 117 and in the top three of both Goals-For and -Against. Aside of team success, Tuukka Rask captured the Vezina Trophy and Patrice Bergeron was awarded the Selke Trophy as he posted his first 30+ goal season since his concussion in 2007.
5.) 1973-74 Boston Bruins; Pts Percentage: .724
After capturing their second Stanley Cup title in three years, the Bruins’ organization saw a widespread change. Gone were names like Gerry Cheevers and Derek Sanderson as they left the organization in favor of the NHL’s competitor, the World Hockey Association. In spite of those departures, the team still held star players like Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and John Bucyk who helped post stellar offensive numbers throughout the season. Backstopped by the tandem of young Gilles Gilbert and veteran Ross Brooks, the team finished with the third-best save percentage in the League helping to maintain a complete team.
The ’73-74 Bruins went on a tear from November 8, 1973, to December 20, 1973, during which they posted a 16 game unbeaten-streak that featured two ties. Bruins finished their regular season first in the league with 113 points and saw several individual awards earned by their players. Most notably, Phil Esposito captured the Art Ross, Hart and Ted Lindsey awards and would have clinched the Rocket Richard had it been doled out at the time.
4.) 1971-72 Boston Bruins; Pts Percentage: .763
The beginning of the decline for the Big Bad Bruins core and they finished first in the league with 119 points. Again led by Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, the Bruins were an offensive juggernaut finishing first in the league in goals-for. While there were not any lengthy win- or unbeaten-streaks, the team finished with the fewest losses among the active teams.
Numbers seven and four finished top-two in scoring among skaters and received individual accolades. Orr has bestowed the honors of both the Hart and Norris in the same season while Esposito finished with the most points in the League culminating in his third Art Ross.
3.) 1938-39 Boston Bruins; Pts Percentage: .771
This Bruins team featured ten Hall-of-Famers, three of which have their numbers hanging in TD Garden’s rafters. As geopolitical tensions rose in Europe and the Pacific, the Boston Bruins ran roughshod in their newly donned black and gold uniforms. The team managed to upgrade in the net when previously acquired Frank Brimsek supplanted Tiny Thompson in the crease passing the baton from one Bruins great to the next.
The team finished first in overall League standings, goals-for, and goals-against. Roy Conacher finished first in goals and Brimsek won the Calder and Vezina for rookie of the year and best goaltender in the League. The famed Kraut line began to grow into their potential and helped propel the Bruins into a winning streak of eight games over the last eight tilts of their regular season to secure the team’s position atop of the leader boards.
2.) 1970-71 Boston Bruins; Pts Percentage: .776
The peak of the Orr era, this squad set multiple offensive records and saw several notable players register career highs. One such mark is Phil Esposito’s 76 goal, 152 point effort, which still stands as the highest for both metrics in franchise history. Those efforts fueled a season where the Bruins logged a total of 399 goals, 108 more than the second most accumulated tallies by the Montreal Canadiens.
With the League’s most potent offense and solid defense and goaltending, the Bruins dominated during the regular schedule. This dominance was exemplified by a 13 game winning streak between February 23, 1971, and March 20, 1971. Further, they did not lose a game by more than three goals during the entirety of the season. Individually, Bobby Orr claimed his second consecutive Hart trophy and third straight Norris while Esposito collected his second Art Ross.
1.) 1929-30 Boston Bruins; Pts Percentage: .875
This Bruins team is the granddaddy of them all and represents the single best regular season in franchise history and the highest winning percentage on League record. With the legendary coach Art Ross at the helm, dominating offensive contributions form Cooney Weiland and Dit Clapper and a Vezina-winning performance from Tiny Thompson the Bruins laid waste to the League for the entire regular season. During their rampage, they lost a piddling five times and posted a 17 game unbeaten streak with their lone tie of the season included. That streak was good for 39% of the entire schedule.