Heading into Sunday nights regular season finale against the Ottawa Senators, the Boston Bruins’ mission was simple, beat a team you’ve already beaten four times and the Northeast division title is yours for the third straight season.
But the Bruins failed to complete their mission.
Thanks to the Bruins loss, the division crown and second seed in the East go to the Montreal Canadiens. The loss keeps the Bruins as the fourth seed and sets up a first round playoff matchup against the fifth seeded Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins took three of four against the Maple Leafs this season.
The Bruins found themselves in a 2-0 hole as time was about to expire in the second period, but a Rich Peverley goal with 3.4 seconds left in the second, and a Dennis Seidenberg rocket 14 seconds into the third knotted things at two and set up one important third period of hockey, unfortunately the period worked out better for the Senators than it did for the Bruins.
Third period goals by Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Kyle Turris on an empty net sealed the deal and helped the Habs clinch the Northeast.
Head coach Claude Julien says his club has already turned the page on not winning the division and is ready to move on to the NHL’s second season.
“It’s too late now,” said Julien.
“I mean, we turned the page. We have to focus on the playoffs. That’s done and over with. Our goal was to win our division, we didn’t, and if we want to drag that into our first game, it’ll be an even bigger disappointment because we won’t be ready to play.”
Making the playoffs is great, but the Bruins wanted the Northeast division, losing out on the higher seed is something that could come back to haunt them in the later rounds, of course that’s if they can make it past the Maple Leafs.
The Bruins have dominated the Maple Leafs the last couple of years, but the Leafs are entering the playoffs playing well of late and have looked like a different team in their last two tilts against the Bruins.
Captain Zdeno Chara knows the series with the Maple Leafs won’t be an easy one.
“No, they’ve been playing good hockey throughout the whole season. It’s not going to be easy, so it’s going to be a good series” said Chara.
The playoff appearance is the Maple Leafs first since 2004, Peverley knows when the Bruins and Leafs hit the ice at the Air Canada Centre for Game 3, the place will be rocking.
Oh yeah, it’ll be crazy, but that’s no given. That’ll make it even more fun. It’ll be a great experience.
The series kicks off Wednesday night in Boston with Game 2 taking place on Saturday. The rest of the schedule can be found here.
Check out what David Krejci had to say after the loss: