The Boston Bruins had their opportunity.
A win on Sunday night in a make-up game against the Florida Panthers had no bearing on the already-eliminated Cats. But for the Bruins, it represented a chance to dethrone the Tampa Bay Lightning from the top spot in the Atlantic Division one and for all.
Instead, the Bruins wasted the chance, falling 4-2 to the Panthers, who finished the season on a five-game winning streak.
The loss for the Bruins — and their second-place finish — was the gain for hockey fans everywhere.
Boston will now play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, with the Leafs finishing the season in third place. Two Original Six teams locking horns once more.
Pure hockey bliss.
The win also finalized the playoff matchups in the Eastern Conference.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will face the New Jersey Devils, with the Pittsburgh Penguins renewing their rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Columbus Blue Jackets and Metropolitan Division winning Washington Capitals.