For the sake of the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry, Boston fans can rejoice; Montreal has been mathematically eliminated from the NHL playoffs.
For the sake of the U.S.-Canada rivalry, American fans can also rejoice; for the first time since the 1969-1970 season, all Canadian teams have been eliminated from contention for the NHL playoffs.
The final team holding out hope for our northern neighbor was the team of Canada’s capital, the Ottawa Senators. And their hope was hinging on a Washington Capitals win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The game proved to be a nail-biter, but not in favor of the Great White North. The Flyers downed the top team in all of hockey in a shootout, allowing them to hold on to one of the last playoff spots in the East. According to current projections, the Flyers are set to rematch the Caps in the first round of the playoffs.
Prior to last night’s win, the Senators trailed the Flyers by eight points with five games remaining in the regular season. It would’ve required a Herculean effort for the struggling Sens had the cards fallen in their favor; their remaining five games come against the Minnesota Wild, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Florida Panthers and the Bruins, all currently playoff-bound teams.
The elimination of the Senators also guarantees that a U.S. team will take home the Stanley Cup for the 22nd straight season.
Tuesday’s game wrapped up a disappointing showing for Canadian teams across the board; all teams (Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver) will end the season with a losing record. Five of the six worst records in hockey belong to Canadian teams as of today. And Edmonton, for the second consecutive year, will have the number one overall pick in the NHL draft.
In other news, President Obama has even more ammunition to use in the great U.S.-Canada hockey debate with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.