As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention — either mathematically or by losing in the postseason — we’ll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2017-18, along with three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction for what 2018-19 will hold.
What went wrong
The Boston Bruins (50-20-12) were second in the Atlantic Division with 112 points, just one point out of first place. They defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs, as their top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak dominated.
They dominated offensively again in the second round against the Tampa Bay Lightning … but unfortunately, those three were the only thing resembling consistent offense on the roster.
The Bruins lost in five games to Tampa, humbled by an injury to defenseman Torey Krug, unable to match the Lightning’s depth and watching Marchand treat opponents’ faces like they were Tootsie Pops. Seriously, the NHL had to intervene and tell Marchand to stop licking other players. On the one hand, that’s super gross and embarrassing for the sport. On the other hand, it’s another item off his bucket list, we imagine.