Legacies on the Line in Bruins-Lightning Series.
The two co-favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup entering the playoffs will meet in the second round, in what might be one of the leagues most important playoff series ever.
Both the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning have been staples of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the past decade dating back to their conference final matchup back in 2011.
The Bruins won that series in a thrilling seven games and would go on to win the Cup but since then both sides have made a habit of coming up short.
The Bruins have had their fair share of short comings with two finals losses in the 2010's and a president trophy winning year where they failed to make it out of the second round, but at least the Bruins core group has won a Stanley Cup before, something the Steven Stamkos led Lightning can't say.
The Lightning were second only to the San Jose Sharks for most regular season wins without a championship in the previous decade. Ironically both the Lightning and Sharks both had four conference finals appearance and one Stanley Cup Final appearance in the 2010's.
In a lot of ways, the Lightning are the new San Jose Sharks, they've had a lot of talented teams in recent years, they have the regular season accomplishments and even made it far in the playoffs but they've fallen short time after time.
For the Bruins, a team like that can be dangerous, one rule that has remain constant in all of sports is eventually every dog has its day. If you're very good for a very long time eventually (usually) you'll break through and win a championship.
There are few great teams that didn't eventually stumble upon a championship, there are some, but they are few and far between.
Recently, the NHL saw this when the Washington Capitals won in 2018. In the previous ten years the Capitals had failed to even make it past the second round let alone hoist the cup. But in 2018, Alex Ovechkin and his teammates that come up short for so long finally got to lift Lord Stanley's Cup.
The Capitals had to go through their nemesis Pittsburgh in their quest for the cup, a team that had beaten them multiple times in the years leading up to their championship run. It's similar situation the Lightning are coming off of, after being humiliated by the Columbus Blue Jackets last year they were able to eliminate them in the first round this year, exorcising their demons.
That is something the Bruins should know all about considering they got revenge on the Philadelphia Flyers in their Cup run in 2011 after blowing a 3-0 series lead against the Flyers in 2010.
While the Lightning's core is still in search of their first title the Bruins have long been looking to add a title to their resume since 2011.
They've enjoyed more postseason success than Tampa Bay, but there's no doubt a second Stanley Cup championship would aid the legacies.
The Bruins have appeared in two finals since their fabled championship run in 2011 only to come up short both times.
The aging Bruins core led by Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara are certainly on one of their last chances at adding that elusive second title to their trophy case.
Only time will tell, but there is a very good chance this years Stanley Cup champion emerges from this series, something both teams need desperately.