Boston Bruins: What Could Have Been in the Stanley Cup Final

Jun 24, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen (62) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner (90) during the overtime period in game six of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen (62) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner (90) during the overtime period in game six of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /
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When the NHL announced new realigned divisions for the regular season and a different 2021 postseason, you have to admit, Boston Bruins and their fans had visions of a Bruins Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens. Come one, admit it, as far-fetched as it sounded, just the thought of it was something you would love to see.

Thursday night, the Canadiens secured their spot in the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-2 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights to win the best-of-seven series in six games. Boston, meanwhile, was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders in six games a couple of weeks, which ended any hope of a dream Stanley Cup Final matchup.

At the beginning of the season, it seemed more likely that the Bruins, not the Canadiens, would be more likely to play for hockey’s ultimate prize. Boston has been in the Cup Final three times in the last decade, winning it all 10 years ago in seven games against the Vancouver Canucks.

Boston was in the Final in 2013 and 2019, losing both times. Montreal, meanwhile, will be making its first appearance in the Final since 1993. They will play the winner to tonight’s Game 7 between the Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In a normal season, there would be no way the Bruins and Habs would be in the Cup Final. The latest the two teams could meet would be in the Eastern Conference Final. But the 2021 season offered a unique chance that the two could meet for the Cup.

With the four new divisions, a different playoff set up for the 2021 season, the playoff possibilities once the Final Four were reached were endless. However, for the Bruins, they ran out of gas against the Isles, while the Habs have been winning their first three series.

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The NHL will get either Montreal against the Islanders or the Lightning, but you can’t tell me that the NHL suites would not have liked to see a B’s/Habs best-of-seven for the Stanley Cup in July. This is one playoff run that the Bruins will be asking themselves this summer, “What if?”