It was not supposed to have ended this way for the Boston Bruins, not this season. Losing in the opening round, to a Florida Panthers team which slipped into the playoffs, in a Game 7 at the Garden?
No, this is not the way the Bruins saw things ending.
After a record-setting regular season in which the Bruins swept through the rest of the NHL like a knife through room-temperature margarine, Boston had eyes on another parade from the Garden to Copley Plaza.
Now it is the Panthers moving on to continue chasing the Cup while the Bruins wonder how it all went so wrong, so fast.
The Bruins, after all had three chances up 3-1 in the series to close the Panthers out.
They were home for not one but two overtime games. They led in the third period twice in Sunrise.
“The way it ended didn’t matter, how it ended, it just — the season’s over,’’ Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said after the 4-3 overtime loss to the Panthers.
“I guess the words that come to mind right now are: disappointment, confusion and then I would say the other part is, you start looking at the season.
“It was an honor to coach that group. I know we didn’t get to where we wanted, I get that, but their professionalism, their work ethic, their commitment to being pros, it was a joy to be around.”
The Panthers will fly to Toronto this morning with Game 1 on Tuesday at 7.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Carter Verhaeghe certainly has a knack for scoring overtime goals in the playoffs, doesn’t he?
Remember last spring when he beat the Washington Capitals not once, but twice? Florida has been to the second round three times in franchise history and Verhaeghe goals are responsible for two of them.
— Florida coach Paul Maurice appeared to get a little emotional talking to the media on Sunday night. Been a long first year with the Panthers and Sunday was what Matthew Tkachuk called a ‘legacy win.’
— Sasha Barkov and Tkachuk may have garnered the headlines after the Panthers won Game 6 on Friday night,some unsung heroes who helped get it done. We introduce you to them.
— The Panthers do not have a lot of experience in Game 7s. It did not matter after all.
— Eetu Luostarinen is turning into a star right before our eyes. Had another nice game on Sunday.
— Barkov told FHN he was ready for Game 6 and, well, he was.
— Ryan Lomberg has a hand injury and is out indefinitely.
— The Charlotte Checkers are in big trouble in their second-round playoff series. Hershey is up 2-0 with the next three games of the series in the home of the chocolate bar.
— A lot of video from the past few days is up on the FHN YouTube Channel including Game 7 postgame reaction from Paul Maurice, Sergei Bobrovsky, Sasha Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk, Brandon Montour and Carter Verhaeghe. There is also some pre-game comments from Maurice, Barkov and Eric Staal as well.
To see all the videos, you can click the embedded videos below or head directly to the FHN YouTube Channel RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place.
If you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up. Which is, a lot.
NHL NEWS/NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
Philipp Grubauer got his revenge on the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night as he shut the door on his former team in a 2-1 win for the Seattle Kraken.
Oh, that was a Game 7 as well? So, the second-year Kraken took out the defending Stanley Cup champs on their home ice.
Crazy game, this.
— Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron was playing with a herniated disk in his back which is why he missed the start of this series. He said he does not need surgery after what may be his final NHL game.
— The Vegas Golden Knights have a date with the Oilers of Edmonton.
— The Maple Leafs are in the second round for the first time in almost 20 years. They’re playing a team from South Florida.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (ATL2) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
- When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
- TV/Streaming: ESPN, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- First Round Schedule — Game 1: Tuesday at Toronto, 7 (ESPN); Game 2: Thursday, TBA; Remainder of Schedule: TBA.
- How They Got Here: Toronto d. Tampa Bay 4-2; Florida d. Boston 4-3
- Season Series (Toronto won 3-1): Maple Leafs 5, @Panthers 4 OT (Jan. 17); @Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 2 (Mar. 23); Panthers 3, @Maple Leafs 2 OT (March 29); Maple Leafs 2, @Panthers 1 OT (April 10)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time Regular Season Series: Toronto leads 48-36-7, 7 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting