BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins’ playoff hopes are officially dead.
With an Ottawa Senators’ win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, combined with a Pittsburgh Penguins’ win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night, the Bruins were eliminated from playoff contention.
Boston lost anyways Saturday night, falling to the Lightning 4-3 in a shootout. They finished the season with 96 points.
The Bruins had been in control of their playoff lives up until Thursday night, when they lost 4-2 to the Florida Panthers. That loss, combined with an Ottawa win over the Rangers, propelled the Senators past the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings.
For the Bruins to have made the playoffs, they needed to win their game on Saturday night following a regulation loss by Ottawa earlier in the day or a Pittsburgh loss in Buffalo.
The premature end to the season is the first in Claude Julien’s eight years at the helm of the Bruins. He became head coach prior to the 2007-08 season and led the team through a seven-game first-round series lost to the Canadiens. Boston swept Montreal out of the first round the following year, but lost in the second round to Carolina.
In 2009-10, the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead and 3-0 Game 7 lead to the Flyers in the conference semifinals, but the organization stuck with Julien, and he rewarded them by leading the team to its first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years.
Yet the 2014-15 season was marked with issues from the start. The previous year’s losses of Tyler Seguin and Andrew Ference was compounded by the loss of Jarome Iginla in the summer and a trade of Johnny Boychuk just prior to the puck dropping on this season. The Bruins went 6-6-0 in the first month of the season and actually went 8-3-1 in November. But they went 5-6-3 in December and have been facing an uphill battle ever since, even despite an 8-1-3 month of January.
Ottawa, meanwhile, finished the season on a remarkable surge, earning 41 of a possible 50 points in their final 25 games.