Stanley Cup shocker: Boston Bruins, record-breaking regular season team, knocked out in first round by Florida Panthers

The Boston Bruins, who had set records for the most regular-season victories and points in NHL history, were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the opening round by the Florida Panthers in a 4-3 overtime Game 7 victory. This year’s Bruins became the latest Presidents’ Trophy-winning team to suffer an early exit in the playoffs, joining the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning, who Boston had surpassed in regular-season wins.

Boston had to battle the unique pressure of going wire-to-wire as the NHL’s best team, and coach Jim Montgomery indicated that there was some residual malaise from the easy ride the Bruins had before the playoffs. Florida advanced to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round.

This is the first playoff series win for the Leafs since 2004. The Bruins made a bold coaching decision before Game 7, benching goalie Linus Ullmark in favor of the 24-year-old Jeremy Swayman, but the team’s first two periods were disappointing, and the Panthers raced to a 2-0 lead.

Boston rallied and tied the score at 3-3 in the third period, but winger Carter Verhaeghe’s goal 8:35 into overtime sent the Panthers into a wild celebration and left Bruins fans in stunned silence.

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