Winning a championship is everything. Should it be the only thing though?

The Boston Bruins won 65 games this season. It was three more than any team in the century-plus history of the NHL and, obviously, the most ever for a franchise that began playing in 1924.

They destroyed Washington on opening night and never cooled off. They started 10-1. They had 20 wins by early December. They didn’t lose at home until December. They finished on a 15-1 tear.

Blowouts. Comebacks. Overtime. Whatever. They just kept winning. They’d fall behind and then pull it out anyway. They delivered five separate stretches of seven or more victories. There were just two “losing streaks.” One lasted three games; the other two.

Night after night there was another big goal or big save or big performance by, well, the entire roster. They came in waves, line after line of speed and skill. When they needed to fight, they fought. They seemingly killed penalties for fun.

Twenty-six players scored a goal and eight posted career highs for the season. That includes goalkeeper Linus Ullmark, who threw one into an empty net against Vancouver. Eighteen different players posted a game winner (David Patsrnak had 13 all by himself). Trent Frederic had six … and he’s on the third line.

Meanwhile, Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman took turns posting shutouts, and hugged it out after each victory. Boston finished the season a ridiculous and record-tying plus-128 in goal differential (second place was Carolina at plus-61).

This was a complete steamrolling, an astounding run through the league. It was even more notable because so little was expected of the team heading into the season (maybe a wild card slot).

Instead, they delivered the best six-month stretch of hockey anyone has ever witnessed.

And yet … does it matter? Or will it?

Does all of it go for naught if they don’t win the Stanley Cup?

The Bruins got the first step out of the way Monday, a 3-1 victory over Florida in their playoff opener. They need 15 more. It will only get tougher.

To the players, this is an all-or-nothing proposition. The regular season was fun, they say, but just a means to an end.

"We took five minutes and celebrated," Swayman said after the season-finale. “And we moved on."

Winning a championship is everything.

Should it be the only thing though?

For the players, perhaps. For the sake of history, of course.

What about the fans, though? What's a regular season like that worth for them?

Certainly not nothing. If you are dedicated to a team, then you pour a lifetime into following them. Early seasons, late seasons, lost seasons. The players and coaches and fortunes come and go. You remain.

And perhaps, just perhaps, you’ll be rewarded with a campaign beyond the wildest of imaginations, when three times a week (in hockey at least) your team comes out and almost never fails.

A championship is a championship, of course, but there is something about a fan base, even an entire city, galvanizing around a team not merely for the sprint of a postseason but across the lengthy meander of a dream-like regular one. Everyone may love an underdog, but there is nothing like the power that comes from cheering on the favorite.

It could be the 116 baseball games the Seattle Mariners won in 2001 (or Chicago Cubs in 1906). Or the 73 NBA victories by Golden State in 2016. Or even the New England Patriots' 16-0 campaign in 2007 — four months of perfection.

And yet, none of those teams — record holders for most regular season victories — went on to win their respective championships.

The Bruins have the chance to change that but hockey is particularly cruel. The last nine President Trophy winning teams failed to make the Cup finals, let alone win it.

That’s the NHL. That’s the deal. That’s what makes it great. Match-ups. Momentum. Injuries. Goalkeeping. It’s a war of attrition. It’s why the players discount the regular season. It truly doesn’t matter.

Except it should for the fan who never saw anything like it. Make no mistake, they’d trade a record regular season for a Cup in the end. Yet the ultimate goal can’t be the only barometer of success. The joyride still happened. All those games. All those victories. All those memories. No one should forget it.

In Boston, the Bruins are the least accomplished of the major professional teams. The local media pays them just cursory attention. Even at their best, they don’t take over the city’s consciousness the way the Celtics, Red Sox or Patriots can, or have.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of Bruins-first fans who prefer them over the others. Monday was the team’s 541st consecutive sell out for a reason.

For them it’s different.

These are the ones that fretted last spring when it looked like Patrice Bergeron would retire, breathlessly followed rumors David Krejci would return from Czechoslovakia, and didn’t miss an October game even though stars Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy were out with injury.

They watched game after game as Pavel Zacha skated and Hampus Lindholm passed and Pasta scored. They watched Patrice Bergeron be Patrice Bergeron, maybe for the last time.

For them, those 65 victories happened. Those six months, those improbable, impossible six months, happened.

It should matter, no matter what — glorious or gut-wrenching — is to come.