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SI:AM | The Bruins Blew It

Plus, Stephen Curry steps up for the Warriors in Game 7.

Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. After three Game 7s yesterday, are you ready for one more tonight? The Rangers play the Devils in Newark at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

In today’s SI:AM:

🏒 The Bruins bow out

🏀 Steph’s 50-point Game 7

📝 NFL draft grades

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Bye bye, Boston

Remember when the Warriors became a meme because they had the best regular season in NBA history and then blew a 3–1 lead to the Cavaliers in the 2016 Finals? What the Bruins just did is even worse. Boston won more games this season than any team in NHL history and then blew a 3–1 lead—in the first round of the playoffs.

The Bruins lost Game 7 last night against the Panthers in overtime to end their historic season with a thud. Boston fell behind 2–0 early in the second period and scored three consecutive goals to take the lead early in the third before Brandon Montour scored with a minute left in regulation to send the game to overtime. Carter Verhaeghe scored the winning goal 8:35 into overtime on a lethally accurate shot past goalie Jeremy Swayman’s short side.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Florida winger Matthew Tkachuk told reporters after the game. “The talent they have over there in Boston is unbelievable. That we were able to do what we did after what they did all year ... the fact that we were able to beat them in the playoffs is crazy.”

The Bruins turned to Swayman in Game 7 after their top choice in net, Linus Ullmark, failed to replicate his high level of regular-season play that made him the favorite for the Vezina Trophy. Ullmark led the league in save percentage (.938) and goals against average (1.89) in the regular season, but his save percentage dropped to .896 in the series against Florida. He allowed six goals on 32 shots (.813 save percentage) in Boston’s Game 6 loss.

It was a brutal way for the Bruins’ historic season to end. They’d lost only three in a row once during the regular season (on a road trip that included, yes, a 4–3 overtime loss to the Panthers) and picked a terrible time to do it again. But it wasn’t exactly a shock. Since the NHL began awarding the Presidents’ Trophy to the team with the best regular-season record in 1986, just eight winners have won the Stanley Cup in the same season. Since the 2004–05 lockout, only three Presidents’ Trophy winners have reached the Stanley Cup Final and since the NHL adopted its current wild-card playoff format in ’14, just one Presidents’ Trophy winner has advanced past the second round of the playoffs (the Rangers in ’15).

There is so much pressure that comes along with being the best team in the NHL, even more so when you’re one of the best teams in the history of the sport. And on top of that, as I wrote before the playoffs started, some of the advanced statistics suggested the Bruins weren’t as elite as their record would indicate.

The loss is especially painful for the Bruins because it’s uncertain that they’ll get another chance this good to win a Stanley Cup. They were the fifth-oldest team in the NHL this season and the oldest team to make the playoffs. Captain Patrice Bergeron was mum about his future after the game but is widely expected to retire. Brad Marchand, the likely new captain if Bergeron walks away, turns 35 later this month. David Krejčí, who was fifth on the team in points this season, is 36 and will be an unrestricted free agent. Trade deadline acquisition Tyler Bertuzzi will also be an unrestricted free agent, and Swayman will be a restricted free agent. Running it back will be a challenge.

The best of Sports Illustrated

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates against the Sacramento Kings.

The top five...

… things I saw yesterday:

5. Taylor Trammell’s leaping catch for the Mariners to send the game to extra innings. (Seattle won, 10–8.)

4. Kevin Love’s full-court assists against the Knicks.

3. The Kraken’s celebrations after beating the defending champion Avalanche in their playoff debut.

2. Shohei Ohtani’s towering home run against the Brewers. Here’s a great animation that illustrates just how high it was hit.

1. Stephen Curry’s 50-point game against the Kings.


On this day in 1884, Fleet Walker became the first Black man to play in a major league baseball game, six decades before Jackie Robinson. Which American Association team did he play for?

  • Toledo
  • Louisville
  • Columbus
  • Indianapolis

Friday’s SIQ: Which Islanders player was on the receiving end of one of the worst cheap shots in NHL history by Capitals forward Dale Hunter on April 28, 1993?

  • Ray Ferraro
  • Travis Green
  • Derek King
  • Pierre Turgeon

Answer: Pierre Turgeon. In the third period of Game 6 of their Patrick Division first-round series, Hunter turned the puck over, and Turgeon capitalized by scoring a goal to give New York a commanding 5–1 lead with 8:31 left to play, effectively squashing any hopes Washington had of mounting a comeback and avoiding elimination. After the puck found the back of the net, as Turgeon wheeled away to celebrate, Hunter leveled him with a hit from behind. Turgeon was concussed and separated his shoulder as a result of the hit and was sidelined for two weeks, missing the first six games of the following series against the Penguins.

“Apparently, Hunter decided that if he was going to miss the rest of the playoffs, Turgeon should too. An eye for an eye, NHL-style,” Christine Brennan wrote in the Washington Post at the time.

Hunter was handed a 21-game suspension, an NHL record at the time, which he acknowledged was a reasonable deterrent against future violent behavior.

“The commissioner is giving stiff penalties and trying to stop anything,” Hunter told the Post after the punishment was handed down.