Florida Panthers Upset Record-Setting Boston Bruins

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

They tore via the NHL through 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 workforce; and outscoring their opponents by 128 targets.

But in spite of everything that profitable, a three-game dropping 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 collection on Sunday night time in Boston to finish a uncommon comeback from a 3-1 collection deficit. And they did so in opposition to a number 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 collection for the primary time since 2004, some followers of the Maple Leafs gathered outdoors the workforce’s area and chanted, “We need Florida.”

They bought their want.

Carter Verhaeghe, a member of Tampa Bay’s 2020 championship workforce, clinched the collection with a left-handed shot from the precise face-off dot via a display screen 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 targets and appeared poised to advance, however defenseman Brandon Montour pressured additional time by scoring his second objective of the sport with lower than a minute left, and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was despatched to the bench for an additional attacker.

By dropping 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 workforce crashed out in a four-game sweep to Columbus, inspiring an apology to the followers on social media. Of the 4 groups to win a minimum of 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, underneath their first-year coach, Jim Montgomery, additionally had expertise all through their roster. Five gamers had a minimum of 20 targets, and 5 had a minimum of 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 targets 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 turned the quickest workforce 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 turned the twenty eighth NHL workforce to lose a playoff collection after main by 3-1.

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

The Bruins additionally shouldn’t have high-end draft picks accessible. They shouldn’t have a first- or second-round choose this 12 months and, due to a previous commerce, they could not have a range within the 2024 draft till the fourth spherical.

The Panthers had been soundly crushed in Game 4 and have been one additional time objective away from their season being over within the subsequent recreation. Instead, improbably, they’re going to play on.

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