The Boston Bruins are coming off three divisional first-place finishes in the last four seasons and four in the last six. Because of that consistency and the quantity of key returning personnel, it is easy enough to predict another sound campaign in 2014-15.
But the broader history of America’s oldest NHL franchise yields ample evidence that the past cannot secure the present. Expectations can pivot for the better or the worse with little or no advanced notice.
The Bruins have presaged their last two championship-winning eras (the 1970s and the 2010s) by absconding irrelevance and progressing ahead of schedule. But in other stretches, an established contender’s persona or a simple upward trend has given way to rancid regression.
Then there was one jutting case of a presumed setback never coming to fruition. In that instance, new stars did not dawdle with the task of nudging their predecessors out of the fans’ and pundits’ minds.
That particular season leads off the following roll of the top five Bruins seasons whose outcome differed from logical prognostications.