Wow, this one hurts. Congratulations to the Florida Panthers. They beat the Boston Bruins in overtime of game seven in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The team that had the most wins and points in the history of the NHL regular season was eliminated by a team that looked like it wanted it more. The Bs looked tired and just couldn’t get the puck out of their zone. The Panthers were all over us. Kevin Paul Dupont from The Boston Globe writes:
Florida, ranked 17th in the Original 32 standings, sent the Bruins careening into the summer when Carter Verhaeghe’ shot eluded Jeremy Swayman 8:35 into overtime. The grandest of all seasons was unceremoniously kicked to the curb, the rowdy fullhouse crowd dropping into pin-drop silence.
Just minutes later, at 9:56 p.m., team captain Patrice Bergeron, with tears welling in his eyes, hugged close pal Brad Marchand as the veteran forwards made their way into the tunnel and disappeared down the runway.
For Bergeron, the classy 37-year-old pivot who has spent his entire remarkable career in Black and Gold, it may have been his final game. His contract has expired, for a second season in a row, and he and his Bruins fell 13 wins short of a Cup. All the psychic equity of the regular season dissolved rapidly in a series in which the Bruins rarely resembled the powerhouse version of themselves that led the league standings virtually wire to wire across six-plus months.
They were left to pack up, stunned by a faster, more eager, and more composed Florida team, with the harsh reality that they rarely played their best. They were once again slow to get their game going in Game 7, battled back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead, and then booted it away when Charlie McAvoy deflected the tying goal into his own net.
It is always hard to lose. It’s all the harder for a club, one with legit championship aspirations, to pack up with the realization that it didn’t come close to summoning its best.
The Bruins, often under heavy forechecking by the stiffer, faster Panthers, lost the final three games after taking what looked like a commanding 3-1 lead. But a funny thing happened on the way to Round 2: They lost their composure, the confidence, their karma.