The Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers have engaged in hard-fought playoff battles in each of the last two seasons.

The Panthers also took the initiative to ensure that both series ended the same way: by eliminating the Bruins on their home ice.

The Bruins fell 2-1 in the final minutes of Game 6 at TD Garden on Friday night. As the Panthers celebrated before preparations for the Eastern Conference finals, the team recognized the challenge that Boston presented yet again in the postseason.

“It was a tough series,” Florida’s Aleksander Barkov shared with Sportsnet. “They’re just an unbelievable team. Really hard to play against. We’re going to respect this win a lot. … It’s just mutual respect because both teams know they gave everything they had.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Bruins and Panthers understood what was at stake in each of the past two seasons, creating a remarkable standard of play for those on the bench at ice level.

“I would pay money to watch Boston and Florida play,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice told reporters at TD Garden. “If we did 82 games, there would be nothing left of these men. It is hard and fast. Highly skilled at times. Brutal and violent at times. It’s what all of the best parts of hockey is in the Bruins series.”

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

Maurice continued: “In Game 3 and Game 4 last year, they were dominant against us at home when they got that 3-1 lead. We were in a little bit of trouble. Maybe Game 5 is the most important game we’ve played in the two years I’ve been here because we found a way. “

While Florida took both series, the Panthers and Bruins fought deep into the later games with physicality and an accelerated pace to match the moment of the postseason.

Story continues below advertisement

“You can take the last six wins that we have, and we could lose every single one of them,” Maurice added. “It was that tight. They are a hell of a team. It’s great hockey.”

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images