The Boston Bruins broke several NHL records in 2022-23 en route to a runaway Presidents Trophy win in what was setting up to be one of the most dominant years ever. However, when the playoffs came around, the Bruins were upset by the Florida Panthers, who barely made it into the playoffs on the last day of the season. The loss devastated Bruins fans and certainly took a toll on rooters who backed Boston in Massachusetts sports betting.
The Panthers went on to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals while the Bruins went from being the greatest regular season team of all time to the authors of perhaps the biggest playoff choke job in NHL history. The Bruins, however, weren’t the only Presidents Trophy winners to lose in the first round. The Bruins’ season reminded many of the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that previously held the regular season points record before Boston surpassed it last year. That Lightning team marched to the playoffs in record fashion before being unceremoniously swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Boston fans can take solace in the fact that the Lightning ended up winning the next two Stanley Cups, using the lessons learned in the loss to spur them to consecutive titles. With this in mind, BetMassachusetts – your source for Massachusetts betting promos - decided to look back at which other Presidents Trophy winning teams lost in the first round since the 2004-05 lockout. We then looked at how they fared in the following season by utilizing NHL.com.
Ousted in 1st Round Presidents Winners Since 2005
Rebounding Won’t Be Easy for Bruins
While the Tampa Bay path is certainly the one that Boston would like to take, history shows us that bouncing back the next season is not easy. Only Tampa Bay followed up its first-round upset loss with a Stanley Cup win. The 2007 Detroit Red Wings and 2010 San Jose Sharks both made it to the conference finals but lost to eventual Stanley Cup Champions in the following seasons. The 2013 Vancouver Canucks suffered a first-round sweep the following season and the 2011 Washington Capitals wound up losing in the second round.
Of these five teams, the Lightning, Red Wings and Capitals all eventually won at least one Stanley Cup with the same core of players. The Canucks and Sharks both failed to do so and eventually had to rebuild their rosters. The 2023 Bruins appear to be closer to the Canucks and Sharks stage of their roster and are more likely to regress and struggle to get to the Stanley Cup finals in the coming years.
With Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retiring, two major pieces of the team have moved on and the core is aging. Like those Canucks and Sharks teams, this Bruins team has been to the Stanley Cup final with this core of players and last year felt like the last great chance for them to win. In fact, BetMGM Massachusetts has the Bruins tied with the Lightning at +1400 in odds to win the Cup. That places Boston behind co-leaders Colorado and Carolina (+900), Edmonton, New Jersey and Toronto (all +1000) and Las Vegas (+1200).
Lessons were learned by the Bruins in their playoff loss last spring, and with the losses of Bergeron, Krejci, Taylor Hall, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in the offseason, this season likely won’t come with the pressure of being the runaway Presidents Trophy winners. With David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy still able to produce, the Bruins still should be competitive and will look to follow the Tampa Bay Lightning’s footsteps instead of fading away like the Sharks and Canucks of the early 2010s.
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