Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh getting swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday night came as big shockers, but once again the playoffs are always unpredictable in hockey.
In particular, the Lightning tying the 1995-96 Red Wings’ single-season mark of 62 wins had many people thinking Tampa was going all the way. There were, in fact, a few articles that came out in recent weeks suggesting Tampa Bay was the greatest NHL team ever because of what the club was doing this season… but c’mon….
But ahhh… this goes back to how the winningest teams in the four professional sports leagues never won the title that year… whether it was the 2001 Mariners, those same Red Wings and now the Lightning, the 2007 Patriots, and the Warriors team that blew the 3-1 series lead to Cleveland in the NBA Finals.
I have no rooting interest here, so I’ll say that Tampa’s meltdown is something that should please fans of the 1992-93 Bruins. When Boston that year got swept by Buffalo in the first round, I remember there was talk about how the Bruins were the first team ever to win 50 games and then get swept in the playoffs. Well, the Lightning of 2018-19 won 62 and then nothing in the playoffs, so at least that takes those B’s off the hook.
And the other series – Pittsburgh vs. Islanders – was a shocker too… The Isles had a great season, but c’mon… New York had accomplished something that it couldn’t do when John Tavares was there. Now with Tavares in Toronto, the Isles are doing what they’re doing… simply amazing. I’m guessing this is New York’s first sweep since the 1983 team swept the Oilers in the Cup Finals.
We’ll see what other upsets occur the rest of the way…