Florida Panthers Upset Record-Setting Boston Bruins

These Boston Bruins haven’t been accustomed to shedding streaks.

They tore by way of the NHL throughout the common season, profitable 65 video games, a single-season report; claiming the Presidents’ Trophy with a league-high of 135 factors, 22 factors clear of each different staff; and outscoring their opponents by 128 objectives.

But in spite of everything that profitable, a three-game shedding streak, simply their second of the season, got here at an inopportune time. The Florida Panthers defeated the Bruins, 4-3, in additional time of Game 7 of their first-round playoff sequence on Sunday night time in Boston to finish a uncommon comeback from a 3-1 sequence deficit. And they did so in opposition to a few of the most formidable opposition within the league’s 106-year historical past: The Bruins had 43 extra factors than the Panthers did within the common season.

Boston had been so dominant that on Saturday night time, after Toronto beat Tampa Bay to win a postseason sequence for the primary time since 2004, some followers of the Maple Leafs gathered outdoors the staff’s area and chanted, “We need Florida.”

They acquired their want.

Carter Verhaeghe, a member of Tampa Bay’s 2020 championship staff, clinched the sequence with a left-handed shot from the proper face-off dot by way of a display by Matthew Tkachuk.

The Panthers constructed a 2-0 lead early within the second interval, inciting a smattering of boos from an antsy Boston crowd. The Bruins scored three consecutive objectives and seemed poised to advance, however defenseman Brandon Montour pressured additional time by scoring his second aim of the sport with lower than a minute left, and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was despatched to the bench for an additional attacker.

By shedding within the first spherical, the Bruins have been dealt the identical destiny of the 2018-19 Lightning, who had shared the earlier report for single-season wins with the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. That Tampa Bay staff crashed out in a four-game sweep to Columbus, inspiring an apology to the followers on social media. Of the 4 groups to win at the very least 60 video games in a season, just one, the star-laden 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, went on to win the Stanley Cup.

This 12 months’s Bruins, below their first-year coach, Jim Montgomery, additionally had expertise all through their roster. Five gamers had at the very least 20 objectives, and 5 had at the very least 40 assists. David Pastrnak, the star winger who signed an eight-year contract extension final month, led each these classes with profession highs of 61 objectives and 52 assists.

In internet, Linus Ullmark’s league-leading save share and goals-against common had positioned him as a favourite to win the Vezina Trophy. And when Ullmark wasn’t in between the pipes, Jeremy Swayman was posting stellar numbers, too.

This 12 months, Boston grew to become the quickest staff ever to achieve 50 wins. By the top, although, followers on the TD Garden have been trudging in direction of the exits after the Bruins grew to become the twenty eighth NHL staff to lose a playoff sequence after main by 3-1.

Boston will now enter an low season with vital inquiries to reply. The staff doesn’t have a lot wage cap house, and its unrestricted free brokers embrace two members of its most up-to-date championship staff — Patrice Bergeron, the 37-year-old captain and a prime defensive ahead; and David Krejci, who had a aim and two assists on Sunday. The staff had rallied round these veterans to attempt to ship them another title.

The Bruins additionally do not need high-end draft picks out there. They do not need a first- or second-round choose this 12 months and, due to a previous commerce, they might not have a range within the 2024 draft till the fourth spherical.

The Panthers had been soundly overwhelmed in Game 4 and have been one additional time aim away from their season being over within the subsequent sport. Instead, improbably, they will play on.

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