One of the joys of watching what is shaping up to be a historically great Bruins season is that all concerns real or imagined have been muted along the way.
The Bruins rocketed out of the gate even while Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy were working their way back from major injuries. When they did return, the team’s success in their absence allowed them room to shake off the rust.
David Krejci returned from his one-year, Bruce Cassidy-dodging sabbatical as skilled and savvy as ever. Linus Ullmark seized the No. 1 goalie role and played spectacularly. Hampus Lindholm emerged as an elite defenseman. Jim Montgomery proved the right voice and tactician to replace Cassidy.
And on and on it has gone with the good news and wise decisions.
Save for the shameful Mitchell Miller debacle, just about everything that could go right has. Actually, check that. Just about everything that could have gone right has gone exceptionally.
Prior to Thursday’s loss to the Lightning, the Bruins had won six in a row and 10 of 11. They still have such a remarkable overall record — 38-6-4 — that you might find yourself reading it out loud (“thirty-eight, six, and four”) just to convince yourself it is indeed real.
This much is also real and true: History is at their fingertips. The Bruins have already reached 80 points, the fastest team in NHL history to do so. They are on pace to surpass the points record, set by the iconic 1976-77 Canadiens, who went 60-8-12 for 132 points.
Some of your friends and neighbors might try to spin-o-rama that into a concern. Boston fans ought to be 19 years past giving a hoot about curses at this point, but it does not go without notice that the Presidents’ Trophy winner — the team that accumulates the most points during the regular season — has gone on to win the Stanley Cup only eight times since the league established the award during the 1985-86 season.
The last Presidents’ Trophy winners to raise the Stanley Cup were the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks, a scenario remembered around here all too well given that the Bruins were their foes in the Final.
The Bruins’ opponents Thursday night were a few seasons removed from being something of a cautionary tale, at least if you believe being the best team in the league during the regular season somehow becomes a hindrance in the playoffs.
The 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning were a regular-season juggernaut, going 62-16-4 and tying the 1995-96 Red Wings for the most wins in league history. But they’re forever remembered not for those 62 regular-season wins, but for their zero wins in the postseason. They were wiped out in the first round in four games by the Columbus Blue Jackets, who had 15 fewer wins in the regular season.
That’s a worst-case scenario for what could happen to the Bruins, but please do not take it as the likely scenario, or one they should fear. They’ve done an exceptional job of avoiding speed bumps so far, but Montgomery and every player in that locker room knows there will be challenges along the way.
Perhaps this four-game road gauntlet versus the Lightning, Panthers, Hurricanes, and Maple Leafs will be illuminating. Perhaps a small slump will knock them off their record pace before the playoffs begin. And the playoffs themselves will tangle our guts with their tension. It’s why the Stanley Cup playoffs are the best tournament in sports.
The Bruins are prepared for all of this. Their roster is well-rounded, versatile, and deep. They have veterans — led by Patrice Bergeron, one of the most admirable athletes in this city’s history — who know what it takes to win a Cup, and they can tell the younger players about the bond this city has with its champions.
They have the right coach, too. As a player at the University of Maine, Montgomery was on a team that went 42-1-2 in his senior year, winning the national championship. He coached the 2016-17 University of Denver team to a 33-7-4 record and a national title. And now he’s leading a Bruins team with a staggeringly impressive record. It’s kind of a trend with him.
The Bruins should embrace every challenge in front of them. This has a chance to be a historic season, a team remembered among — or as — the best ever. Keep winning, and winning again. Collect the Presidents’ Trophy, and then a few months later, hoist the trophy that really matters. Go for history. All of it.
Be greedy, Bruins fans. Want it all. This team is capable of fulfilling everything.
Chad Finn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.