The Boston Bruins have completed the best NHL season ever at 133 points and counting eclipsing the 1976-77 Montreal Canadians. How sweet it is!
It’s a prodigious achievement and should be celebrated, but frankly, if it doesn’t eventuate in winning the Stanley Cup, it means a whole lot less.
Fans can celebrate the massive point total and the uber-season by goal-scoring machine David Pastrnak, but if Patrice Bergeron doesn’t lift the cup in the NHL finals, it will be devastating nonetheless.
While this may seem unnecessarily harsh, frankly, it is what it is, no matter their running away with all the regular season accolades. Lose the Cup, and it will fade into history as just another disappointing season.
Boston Bruins need to just win the Cup, period
No matter what has happened prior, it’s the final act that takes all the accolades that actually mean anything. Too often the team has crashed out of the playoffs even in the finals and left Bruins Nation decimated. And its will be no different this season if that eventuates.
Fortunately, the team itself is totally focused on the real prize, lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup and perhaps carting around the Boston Garden ice for the first time since 2011.
Feisty and talented wing Brad Marchand has his focus squarely on the real prize,
"“It’s a goal we wanted to accomplish, (but) it’s not our be-all end-all … but we’re very proud of this group. To be the top wins and most points is an incredible accomplishment in this league, and something down the road we’ll be more proud of.”"
The operative phrase is “be-all end ll”. Marchand gets it. If they don’t win the Cup, in essence, no matter how good the regular season was, they will still be also-rans. It’s harsh but it’s also reality.
Only part of the job has been completed in glorious style. But if it doesn’t culminate in the Cup, it will fade into history as just another disappointing season.
Boston Bruins may have the missing element in 2023
The Boston Bruins lost the finals in 2013 and 2019. Those defeats still leave a sour taste. But 2023 may just be different.
Not only does the team have a fabulous team all over the ice in front of the goal, but they just may have the element that was missing in those last two finals.
That element is a goaltender who can carry them over the threshold of victory and make the proverbial “last save”. This season with presumptive Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark, they may just have that missing piece.
Ullmark had a magnificent season and though he suffered what may just be a minor injury (looks like he’ll be OK), hopefully, he’ll be back between the pipes when the playoffs commence.
Ullmark won 40 games and lost a mere 6. He also sported a magnificent mere 1.89 goals against average and a save percentage of .938.
So it is Ullmark, the last bastion of defense who will hold to a great extent the Stanley Cup in his hands and pads. The team couldn’t finish the job in those previous two finals appearances, and Ullmark will be a huge key to the whole business.
If he can make that “last save” the team can win it all. His season certainly portends that they can indeed. But the proof as they say, is in the pudding.
But optimistically, should Ullmark and his precocious teammates do what is certainly expected and win that Cup, the season will truly be a historic masterpiece, one for the ages.
Conversely, a Boston Bruins loss in the playoffs will just signal another wasted opportunity to finish the job and take home the ultimate prize. The guess here is that this season they will.
But, of course, that’s why they play the games.