As the NHL reaches its midway point of the 2022-23 season, there has become no way to argue the Boston Bruins are the best team in hockey.
Boston, who will officially reach the halfway point of its season Thursday night, holds an NHL-best record of 32-4-4, and leads the league in points (68), goals against average (2.13) and save percentage (.928). The Bruins are also second in goals per game (3.85) and third in power play percentage (28.2%).
You name a statistical category and the Bruins are among the best in the NHL. That’s probably the reason why they received top marks in ESPN’s midseason grades.
Here’s a snippet from ESPN’s section on Boston.
Grade: A+. Boston is a top-to-bottom powerhouse, with superb goaltending, a depth of offensive talent and an excellent defense. There are so few holes in the Bruins’ game, and they’ll continue to be a top Stanley Cup favorite if they can stay healthy.
There’s no doubt that the Bruins are receiving contributions from all over the place, but the two stars of Boston’s first half have been goaltender Linus Ullmark and head coach Jim Montgomery.
As was pointed out by ESPN’s Ryan S. Clark and Kristen Shilton, Ullmark has been the “class president” for Boston — leading the NHL in wins (21), save percentage (.939) and goals-against average (1.86), earning him his first-career All-Star nod.
Montgomery has also been fantastic for the Bruins, blowing any expectations put upon him out of the water in his first season in Boston. In capturing the NHL’s best record through 40 games, the first-year bench boss also earned a trip to the All-Star Game in early February.
Combine their performances with the continued steady play of stars Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy, another step forward by all-world goal scorer David Pastrnak and an emergence from Hampus Lindholm and the case for Boston to sit high on the list is clear.
Can the Bruins keep up their 139-point pace and break the NHL’s all-time single-season record? It’s hard to say, but they haven’t done anything so far to make one believe it isn’t a real possibility.