BOSTON (CBS) — Normally, when a No. 2 seed faces off against a No. 7 seed, the idea of the seventh seed winning the series would constitute as an upset. But what if that seventh seed won three of the four meetings between the two teams that season?
That’s the situation this week with the second-seeded Bruins taking on the seventh-seeded Capitals. The Bruins finished the year with 102 points and are, of course the defending Stanley Cup champions. On the other hand, the Capitals finished the season with 92 points and haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs since the late ’90s.
However, it was the Capitals proving stronger in the head-to-head matchups with the Bruins this season, going 3-1 (one of the victories came via shootout). So will the Caps have the edge in this best-of-seven series?
History says yes. The Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg posted a story on Tuesday that showed since the lockout, the teams with better head-to-head records against their first-round playoff opponents ended up winning that series 77 percent of the time.
However, more recent (and more applicable) history says the losing record could be no problem for the Bruins. It was just last year that the Bruins traveled to Montreal to begin the playoffs after going 2-3-1 against the Canadiens during the regular season. It actually got worse, too, as the Bruins dropped the first two games of the series. However, the would go on to win four of the following five games.
The Bruins did have winning records against their second-round opponent (3-0-1 vs. Flyers), conference final opponent (3-1-0 vs. Lightning) and Cup Final opponent (1-0 vs. Canucks).