The Boston Bruins have gotten off to a historically excellent start in the 2022-23 season. Through 47 games they have gone 38-5-4, accumulating an astounding 80 of the 94 points available to them. That is 85.1% of the total. The next closest teams have 66 points. TD Garden has become a near fortress as the Bruins have lost just one game in regulation and three others in overtime all season.
Boston has a shot to take out some all-time NHL records, albeit under different league rules. The Bruins current pace of 66 wins would surpass the record of 62 held by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning. The Red Wings played under rules that had regular season overtimes but no shootouts yet, so games could still end in ties, and Boston has had two shootout wins. The Bruins 140 point pace would blast through the 132 that the legendary 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens accumulated in an 80-game season with no overtimes.
On the other hand, the ’70s Canadiens played in an era with limited free agency and a decade’s worth of expansion teams recently entering the league while the Red Wings did not have to deal with salary caps yet. Take nothing away from this year’s Bruins as this is a monstrous achievement.
Boston does everything well, but the defense and goaltending are particularly stellar, They have allowed a league low 2.02 goals per game. Goalie Linus Ullmark has allowed just 1.82 GPG and also leads the NHL with a 93.8% save percentage and 28.23 goals saved above average. Defenseman Hampus Lindholm paces the league with a +/- of +34, and RW David Pastrnak is second with 37 goals.
Needless to say, the Bruins have shot up the betting futures boards. Here are the Stanley Cup favorites over at BetMGM Sportsbook.
Maple Leafs +1000
Golden Knights +1000
Plus the Eastern Conference championship odds
Maple Leafs +550
Legal sports betting comes to Massachusetts physical sports books on January 31st, then online in early March. Bay State residents aged 21 and over can start downloading Massachusetts betting apps now and take advantage when the windows open online. Sign up, deposit funds, and place a wager. If it wins, collect the proceeds. If it misses, the books defray the loss with free bets equal in amount to the first bet, usually maxed out at $1000.
The Bruins have a rough stretch of games coming up, including a four-game road trip at Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Toronto. They play Tampa, Carolina, and Toronto again later as well, though beyond that the remaining schedule is medium after the next brutal stretch.
Predictions for this Season
Prediction models are modestly more bullish than the betting markets. FiveThirtyEight projects the Bruins to finish with 128 points, which will finish just short of the all-time records. They give Boston a 39% chance to make the finals, which equals a +156 money line, and 26% to win the Cup, equal to +285.
The Athletic’s model also rounds to 128 points, with 37% to win the East and 29% to take the Cup. That translates to +170 and +245 respectively.
There are regular season futures odds too, but the Bruins have run up such a lead that there is not much meat left on the bone here. BetMGM prices them at -1000 to take the President's Trophy, given to the team with the league’s best record, and -2500 to win the Atlantic Division. The Bruins lead the Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, and Devils by 14 points for the league lead, and just the Maple Leafs in the Division. The Hurricanes have a game in hand, while the Bruins have a game in hand on the Maple Leafs.
If the Bruins do well in this next stretch of games, the models will likely give them a shot at taking out the points record. That will not take into account that Boston might rest guys down the stretch as they have such a big lead over the rest of the league that it is unlikely that late-season games will mean much in the standings.
The Bruins one warning sign may even be a little misleading. They have scored 64.6% of the 5 on 5 goals in their games, but have only taken 51.8% of the shots, and 52.9% of the unblocked shots. That is as much a reflection of their exceptional goaltending and the fact that they spend more time protecting leads than every other team.
Stanley Cup playoffs are notorious for seeing ordinary teams ride hot goalies relatively deep in the playoffs. The Bruins in Ullmark and backup Jeremy Swayman have the best goaltending in the league this year, but someone else could get hot and give them fits. That is all unknowable at this point, as right here right now they are fully justified as Stanley Cup favorites.
Some Bruins are in the running for individual trophies as well. Ullmark at -160 on FanDuel is the favorite for the Vezina Trophy given ”to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position”. In the Rocket Richard Trophy race, given to the leading goal scorer, Pastrnak has the second lowest odds at +200, trailing Conor McDavid at -200. McDavid leads Pastrnak by three goals. They are also 1-2 in the Hart Trophy race, given to league MVP, though there McDavid is priced at a commanding -400 with Pastrnak at +1500.
Defenseman Charlie McAvoy is sixth in the Norris odds at +2600, with Colorado’s Cam Makar leading at +270.
All in all it looks like a fun home stretch for the Bruins. The online betting markets will open in Massachusetts well in time to get wagers down in time for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
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