The Boston Bruins react after losing to the Florida Panthers in overtime in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series Sunday night at TD Garden. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Toronto rolled into town Monday looking to take care of business in Boston.

Unfortunately, we’re talking baseball. The Blue Jays took the field at Fenway Park on Monday night looking to continue the dominance they had over the Red Sox in 2022. Toronto won 16 of 19 games against the Sox, outscoring Boston by 70 runs in those games.

The Maple Leafs, the team we really wanted to see in Boston, were north of the border getting ready for Game 1 of their NHL playoff matchup with the Florida Panthers.

Instead of the Leafs coming to TD Garden for the start of the second round, it was the Panthers who made Causeway Street their home away from home. Florida ended the Bruins’ historic season with a pair of gut punches, scoring a tying and series-saving goal in the final minute of regulation and advancing on Carter Verhaeghe’s goal 8:35 into overtime.

It was Boston’s third straight home loss in the series, a stunning run of futility for a team that lost only four home games in regulation during the season. A season that saw Boston set NHL records for wins and points. A historic season that means absolutely nothing after Sunday night’s loss.

First-year coach Jim Montgomery called the loss “stupefying.” A team that rolled through the regular season without any real adversity was outplayed, outmuscled and outworked by a Panthers team that had the 17th-best record in the NHL and didn’t clinch a playoff spot until the final week of the season.


It will go down as one of the biggest failures in Boston sports history. And it begins an offseason that will be filled with uncertainty.

General Manager Don Sweeney seemed to make all the right moves to go all-in for this season. He brought David Krejci back from exile, coaxed Patrice Bergeron into a 19th season in black and gold.

Now both 37-year old centers are free agents. It’s hard to imagine either coming back right now … although it’s far too early in the offseason to make any decisions.

Following the series, Bergeron revealed he was playing with a herniated disc in his back. The injury occurred when he played in the meaningless season finale in Montreal — another storyline that will haunt the Bruins this offseason — and it kept him out of the first three games of the series.

He returned for Game 5, and the Bruins never won a game again. If he’s retiring, it’ll be an incredibly tough way for the captain to ride off into the sunset.

Montgomery will be left wondering if he should’ve gone to Jeremy Swayman in net sooner. Swayman was just the fourth goalie in NHL history to make a playoff series debut in Game 7. He was good, but not good enough to overcome the defensive shortcomings of the team in front of him. Maybe he could’ve helped sooner.


Linus Ullmark made a horrendous decision to overplay the puck along the end boards in overtime of Game 5, gifting the Panthers with a turnover that led to a massive shift in momentum. Within 48 hours Florida had won a pair of games and forced a winner-take-all Sunday night at TD Garden.

Even after all that, the Bruins held the lead in the final game with less than a minute to go. They couldn’t protect that lead, and couldn’t keep up with the Panthers in OT. Now their season is over.

Boston fans will get to move on quickly. The parquet was already covering much of the ice when reporters left the Garden on Sunday night. Game 1 of the Celtics-Sixers second-round series was less than 24 hours away. And the Red Sox had four big games to play against that other team from Toronto.

But the Bruins were left answering questions about how it all ended so fast. Those questions will linger this offseason.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. He is a Lewiston High School graduate.

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