By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn
Even with the Bruins playing the best hockey we’ve seen in recent memory, fans only took one small skid to throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble. The Bruins had a bad stretch by their standards from March 9 through March 14, losing three games to the Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks. However, even with those three losses, the Bruins still only have 11 losses on the season.
After a clean weekend, defeating the Minnesota Wild and the Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins now have 111 points in 69 games played. Many fans, myself included, are closely watching the all-time points and wins record. As the Bruins keep winning, the records seem more and more within reach. With 13 games left, the Bruins need ten wins and 21 points to break both records. That means they can drop three games and five points between now and the end of the season and finish as the best regular-season team in history.
With all that said, is a regular season record, or a pair of them, worth trading for a long playoff run? The Bruins have a veteran core built around two centers in their late 30s. Pair that with the injury troubles the team has already had this season, and playing 13 more games at full throttle seems like an unnecessary risk.
It may sound weird to say because it probably seems like common sense to most people, but I’d much rather see Patrice Bergeron accept the Stanley Cup from Gary Bettman in June than see this team set regular season records if I had to choose between the two. As I’ve written, teams chasing regular season records tend to struggle in the postseason, especially in the modern NHL.
While some fans freak out about the Bruins’ minor slump, it may be better if the Bruins take it easy the rest of the way. I don’t want the Bruins to lose focus and completely let themselves go, but if they need to give some guys a rest, a couple of days off could let them replenish their legs and get ready for a playoff run. Especially if guys are playing banged up a bit, giving them a rest to recover and get fully healed could set the Bruins up nicely for round one.
Resting up for the playoffs doesn’t have to mean giving up on the regular season records, though. As we saw this weekend, the Bruins can still get it done in various situations. On Saturday, they beat one of the hottest teams in the league, and Sunday, they suited up without David Krejci and Dmitry Orlov and won by seven goals.
I’m suggesting that if you’ve put a lot of stake in this team competing for a historic regular season, take a minute and consider the larger picture. If, and I do mean if, the Bruins can set one or both records this season, someone could always break it later. If they run the table and win the Cup, no one can ever take that away. If this team doesn’t finish the season as unbelievably as they’ve played so far, it may not be a sign of disaster; it might just indicate that they have their priorities in order.