If you ask our Joe Haggerty, the panic level for Bruins fans entering this week's playoff round after an admittedly limp performance in the round-robin games is bordering on the absurd.
As if forward Alex Killorn and the Tampa Bay Lightning needed yet another reminder of last year's monumental playoff collapse in preparing to open the first round Tuesday. The ever-stingy, John Tortorella-coached Columbus Blue Jackets are standing in their way once again in the best-of-seven series to be played in the Eastern Conference hub city of Toronto. ''We're not focusing on last year,'' Killorn said, in summing up how most Tampa Bay players have grown tired of discussing how the Presidents' Trophy-winning Lightning were swept in four games by the Blue Jackets in April 2019.
Coach Rick Bowness is encouraged by the scoring chances the Dallas Stars had in their most recent game. While Dallas scored only four goals combined in its three round-robin games among the Western Conference's top four seeds, the Calgary Flames averaged four goals per game while beating Winnipeg in four games to wrap up their best-of-five qualifying round series. ''Dominated their series against Winnipeg,'' Stars captain Jamie Benn said.