TORONTO — Bruce Cassidy did not see it coming.
And fairly frankly, neither did many others.
A day after the Tampa Bay Lightning — the Presidents’ Trophy winners, a crew that tied the NHL file for wins in a season — had been swept out of the playoffs in 4 straight by the Columbus Blue Jackets, members of the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs mirrored on a end result that shocked the hockey world.
Associated: Blue Jackets Advance After Sweep of Mighty Lightning
“Stanley Cup playoffs, nothing surprises you,” stated Cassidy, Boston’s head coach. “When you’re in, each crew has an opportunity.
“I might not have guessed Tampa wouldn’t have received a sport within the playoffs.”
Playoff Hockey is Completely different
The winner of the Japanese Convention quarterfinal between the Leafs and Bruins, which Toronto led 2-1 heading into Wednesday’s Sport four at Scotiabank Area, will face Columbus within the second spherical.
“It is positively surprising, however it’s playoff hockey,” Leafs winger Zach Hyman stated. “I do not suppose Columbus is de facto an eighth seed. They loaded up on the (commerce) deadline. They have some nice gamers.
Columbus Blue Jackets’ Matt Duchene celebrates the crew’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning (AP Photograph/Jay LaPrete)
“However Tampa set a bunch of information, so it is fairly stunning.”
These information included tying the NHL’s mark for victories with 62, and placing up 128 factors, fourth-most in league historical past.
Tampa hadn’t performed a really significant sport in months are had been the primary crew to the qualify for the post-season.
They had been additionally the primary to move house.
“It is a totally different sport (within the playoffs),” Toronto blueliner Travis Dermott stated. “It is sort of loopy to suppose such a great crew within the common season can exit in 4 like that.
“You by no means actually would have thunk it.”
Matthews: “It All Comes All the way down to Will”
Leafs centre Auston Matthews stated spring hockey comes right down to extra than simply talent.
“It isn’t what individuals anticipated or figured that was going to occur with the common season they’d,” he stated. “It does not matter what seed you are in. Or your home.
“All of it comes right down to will.”
However Toronto head coach Mike Babcock stated the parity amongst groups throughout the league is such that nothing ought to actually come as a shock within the playoffs.
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports activities)
And he would know.
Regardless of accumulating 124 factors and profitable the Presidents’ Trophy for the most effective regular-season file in 2005-06, Babcock’s Detroit Purple Wings misplaced within the first spherical to the Edmonton Oilers. Babcock additionally swept Detroit within the 2003 playoffs when he was with Anaheim regardless of his Mighty Geese ending 15 factors again of the Purple Wings within the standings.
“There’s not a lot to choose between us,” Babcock stated Wednesday morning. “It is hockey, it is arduous. Plenty of occasions through the yr you suppose this crew’s going to win due to the file.
“That is not how it’s.”
Associated: Mitch Marner Is Pacing the Maple Leafs at Each Ends of the Ice
Cassidy, whose membership fell to the Lightning within the second spherical of the playoffs final spring, famous that the Blue Jackets discovered a strategy to get inside Tampa’s defence, which had an injured Victor Hedman for simply two of the 4 video games.
“They had been heavy in opposition to them,” he stated. “They discovered the method, they get to advance.”
Oh Yeah…The Islanders Swept the Penguins, Too
The New York Islanders additionally accomplished a sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, a end result considerably overshadowed by Tampa’s ouster.
New York Islanders have a good time (AP Photograph/Gene J. Puskar)
The Islanders had been the upper seed, however to see them ship Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Co. packing in 4 straight was one other eyebrow raiser.
“It is a loopy begin to the playoff yr with these two groups taking place,” Hyman stated. “Quite a lot of nice gamers are out fairly early.
“The door’s open.”
Associated: Islanders End off Penguins Playoff Sweep
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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press