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NHL: Best teams in regular-season history: Boston Bruins can surpass the greats

The Boston Bruins (50-11-5; 105 points) have a chance to record the most points and wins in NHL regular-season history and, while they insist their ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup, a place in the record books would certainly be a big accomplishment.

But how does their remarkable regular season compare to those achieved by teams of the past?

1976/77 Montreal Canadiens

The Bruins need 27 points from the 32 still available to tie the 1967/77 Montreal Canadiens for most points in a single NHL regular season (132).

Montreal's point percentage of .825 to end that season is better than Boston's current .795, and the Bruins have the luxury of 82 games to try and hit the record points tally which the Canadiens managed in 80 games.

With eight players scoring 20 or more goals, and featuring future of Hall of Famers like Ken Dryden, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Lemaire and Steve Shutt, the Canadiens outscored opponents 387-171.

Shutt led the team with 60 goals, while Lafleur had 56 goals and a club best 136 points.

The Canadiens went on to beat the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final, which was the first of four championships under the guidance of the greatest coach in NHL history - Scotty Bowman.

1995/96 Detroit Red Wings

During the 1995/96 season Bowman coached the Detroit Red Wings to 62 wins (from 82 games), which was equalled by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018/19 and is the record that the Bruins are chasing this season.

Boston need 12 victories from their remaining 16 games to match the record.

The Red Wings had an array of star talent including captain and now General Manager Steve Yzerman, as well as Paul Coffey, Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Federov, who led the team with 39 goals and 107 points.

Detroit were expected to win the Stanley Cup after such a strong season, but they were unable to accomplish that, losing to the Colorado Avalanche in six games in the Final.

2018/19 Tampa Bay Lightning

Arguably, Tampa Bay’s 2018/19 season (62-16-4) is more impressive than the Red Wings’ or the Canadiens’ because it came at a time when a team’s spending is constrained by a salary cap, with the league now more competitive than ever before.

The Lightning’s core of that season remains and although the record-breaking campaign didn’t end with a Stanley Cup championship, they did win it consecutively in the next two years.

Captain Steven Stamkos led the team with 45 goals and Nikita Kucherov had the most points with 128 which included 87 assists.

Kucherov won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was awarded the Vezina Trophy as Goalie of the Year after recording 39 wins.

Tampa Bay’s record-setting season ended abruptly when they became the first Presidents' Trophy winner to get swept in the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Lightning had their Stanley Cup three-peat bid ended by the Avalanche in last season’s Final and are +1800 to reclaim the championship this season.

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1929/30 Boston Bruins

While just a 44-game season, the Bruins of 1929/30 hold the record for the highest points percentage of any team in NHL history (.875). The Bruins went 38-5-1 during the regular season and outscored their opponents 179-98.

Similar to today’s Bruins, who are a remarkable 27-3-3 at TD Garden, the 1929/30 version were strong in their own building and won 20 straight games on their home ice which ranks second best all-time.

Art Ross was the coach and they were led in goals by Cooney Weiland, who had 43, while Dutch Gainor had the most points with 73.

Goalie Tiny Thompson had a remarkable 38 wins, but despite their outstanding regular season, the Bruins stumbled in the post-season. 

Boston fell in the Stanley Cup Final to the Canadiens in two straight contests. It was the first and only time all season Boston lost back-to-back games.

Current Bruins

Under coach Jim Montgomery, the Bruins have become the quickest team ever to reach 50 regular season wins, doing so in 64 games to beat the aforementioned Red Wings and Lightning, who did it in 66. 

Boston reached 100 points in 61 games, also the fastest ever in a season which began with a record 14 game winning run at home.

Montgomery is -700 to win the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year, but will be well aware that just eight of 36 Presidents' Trophy winners have gone on to lift the Stanley Cup that same season.

The last Presidents' Trophy winner to lift the Stanley Cup was the 2012/13 Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-5 from 48 games), who dominated that lockout-shortened season.

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