The Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs both thought they were playing the Eastern Conference first round for the right to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.
They were wrong.
In an upset of epic proportions the Lightning were knocked out by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, with the Blue Jackets’ 7-3 win completing a four-game sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy winners.
It was the fourth time in NHL history that the No. 1 overall seed was swept in a best-of-7 series in the first round. And the Presidents’ Trophy continues to be cursed, as no team that has won it has won the Stanley Cup since the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks and just two Presidents’ Trophy winners have won the Cup in the past 16 years.
Even more amazing: the Blue Jackets as a franchise had never won a playoff series. And, oh yeah, they trailed 3-0 after the first period of Game 1.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Monday he’d been keeping close tabs on the Tampa Bay-Columbus series and was impressed with how the Blue Jackets carried over their late-season playoff push into the postseason.
"I've watched every game. Very physical series,” Cassidy told the media in Toronto. “I'm a little – obviously, when you win 62 games, you don't think you'll go on a three-game losing streak – but … that's about my only opinion on it."
"It's the Stanley Cup playoffs. You never know. ... Tampa clinches in, what, Valentine's Day they clinch a playoff spot? Columbus goes down to the wire, and all of a sudden they've got a leg up. You just never know. Good for them. They're playing hard. They're playing well."
The Blue Jackets may be a tough out now, but the Bruins hope they get the chance to be the one to end the Cinderella run.
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