After losing their second straight round-robin game, this one a 3-2 defeat to the Lightning on Wednesday, the Bruins will not be the No. 1 overall seed when the Stanley Cup playoffs first round begins Aug. 11.
It’s kinda shocking.
Quick reminder, since it was a thousand years ago: They won the Presidents’ Trophy for the shortened 2019-20 season with a 44-14-12 record (100 points); the second-best team was the Blues at 94 points in 71 games.
This year, the best team in the regular season won’t face the worst team to make the postseason in its conference. (Who is that, anyway?) They won’t even face the second-worst. Boston can’t finish higher than the No. 3 seed and could even fall to fourth. And, they won’t have home-ice advantage throughout (not that anyone really, truly does).
“Well, that part sucks, I’m not gonna lie to you,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said on a Zoom call with reporters following the latest loss. “But that’s the situation this year with the stoppage of play. We knew the rules going into it, that we would lose a bit of the advantage we gained. So, we are where we are now.”
Man, 2020 is weird . . . but maybe this isn’t a bad thing.
Last season, as everyone vividly remembers, the 2019 Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Lightning, put together one of the greatest regular-season performances with 62 wins. They were swiftly kicked to the playoff curb when they were swept in the first round by the Blue Jackets.
MORE: Lightning’s playoff collapse continues ‘curse’ of the Presidents’ Trophy
Granted, it’s also never a guarantee that the best team during the regular season will be skating around the rink with Lord Stanley’s Cup at the end of the playoffs.
Since the first year the trophy was awarded, following the 1985-86 season, only eight winners have won the Cup — not great odds. The Bruins know this feeling. It happened to them in 1990 (lost to the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final) and again in 2014 when they lost in the second round to the rival Canadiens. In 2011, they were on the opposite end when they beat the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks in seven games in the Final.
And, maybe it’s a good thing there wasn’t a trophy presentation this year: Superstition says you shouldn’t touch it if you want to win the Cup.
Regardless, 2020 is unique. It’s crazy and special. It’s its own beast. What will happen is anyone’s guess.
“I think if you want to make a run in the playoffs, you’ve got to beat every team anyways,” noted Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. “The situation is what it is. I think the worst thing [that’s] going to happen to us is we’re going to lose the locker room and our practice rink, so that’s about it.
“I really don’t care where we finish. I think we just have to focus on our game and try to improve that [this] coming Sunday and then go on to next week.
“But, you know, we’ve got to beat anybody anyway.