Back when the NHL first revealed the playoff format for Bizarro Playoffs II: Slightly Less Bizarre, many people had the same thought:
“Hey, cool - two Eastern teams or two Western teams could play in the Final! It could be Bruins vs. Maple Leafs, or even Bruins vs. Canadiens for the Stanley Cup!”
Ah, how naive we were.
With the dust settled, it will, in fact, be two Eastern teams playing for the Stanley Cup. Hell, it’ll even be two Atlantic Division teams!
However, with the Bruins out of the mix, it’ll instead be about as close to a nightmare Stanley Cup Final as it can be for Bruins fans: Tampa Bay vs. Montreal.
I’m not even going to bother pasting in the Michael-Scott-Noooo.gif, so just imagine it.
Obviously we’ve known since last night that the 2021 Final would be unpalatable to Bruins fans regardless, as it’d feature Montreal vs. either the team that eliminated them or the team that eliminated them last year.
After Tampa Bay eliminated the Islanders with a 1-0 Game 7 win tonight, we have our answer.
The 2021 Stanley Cup Final will be played between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It’s the Bruins’ historic rival vs. the Bruins’ more recent nemesis. The team that’s responsible for so much historical heartbreak vs. the team that has ended the Bruins’ season two out of the last four years.
I guess the point here is that if you’re a Bruins fan, there’s no real way for you to win here.
- If Montreal wins, you can rejoice in Tampa not winning again, not being rewarded for their salary cap follies, and not seeing Pat Maroon win his third Stanley Cup in a row...but it’ll come with a heavy bleu, blanc, et rouge cost.
- If Tampa wins, you can rejoice in a “close, but no cigar” run for the Habs...but it’ll cost you the Maroon stuff, plus all of the rest.
Either way, I think we can all agree that it’s great that Montreal is in the Stanley Cup Final after beating the collapsing Leafs in the first round.
At least there’s a silver lining!
Have your say! Obviously you’re likely not actively rooting for either of these teams, but if you had your choice, which team would you prefer to see win it all this season?
(Worth noting: This post is meant as more of an open thread to discuss the upcoming series, not that this is actually some kind of doomsday scenario. Unless you’re really mad, in which case vent away!)