The Boston Bruins are once again one of the NHL's best defensive teams, and their success at that end of the ice has been a huge catalyst in the franchise's historically strong start to the 2022-23 season.
Boston entered Wednesday with a league-best 19-3-0 record after beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
What's driving the Bruins' defensive brilliance? Well, there are a number of factors, but one unsurprising one is the excellent play of Patrice Bergeron.
The B's captain is a five-time Selke Trophy winner and arguably the best defensive forward of all time. Even at age 37 and in his 19th season, Bergeron is still an elite player.
Consider this ridiculous stat:
A total of 357 players have totaled 250 or more 5-on-5 minutes this season. The three goals the Bruins have allowed with Bergeron on the ice at 5-on-5 are the fewest of any player in that group of 357.
The Bruins have outscored teams 10-3, earned a 161-73 advantage in scoring chances and a 65-26 lead in high-danger chances during Bergeron's 5-on-5 ice time through 21 games, according to hockey analytics site Natural Stat Trick. Boston also has a .973 save percentage at 5-on-5 when Bergeron is on the ice.
In addition to his stellar defense, Bergeron is on track to score 20-plus goals for the 10th consecutive season. He has tallied 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 21 games.
Bergeron is well on his way to a sixth Selke Trophy, but both him and the team have much more important objectives to accomplish before the season concludes.