We are nearly a month removed from the Boston Bruins crushing Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Florida Panthers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it's safe to say that the loss still stings pretty badly. After their historic regular season campaign, the Bruins coughed up a 3-1 lead over Florida, and watched what may be their last chance to get Patrice Bergeron another ring vanish in the blink of an eye.

There has been quite a large cloud of gloom surrounding the team ever since, with regular season award nominations for David Pastrnak, Linus Ullmark, Jim Montgomery, and Bergeron feeling meaningless, and for good reason. This whole campaign, despite all the ridiculous records set in the regular season, was all about raising the cup, and at the end of the day, Boston failed.

The sting of such a crushing loss in Game 7, as well as the series as a whole, likely won't wear off for quite some time. Yet it is worth noting that the Bruins first-round adversary in the Panthers has now gone on a run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, which raises an interesting question; should the Panthers success make the Bruins feel a bit better about their first-round collapse?

What should the Bruins and their fans make of the Panthers continued postseason success?

We've already established what happened in the Bruins series against the Panthers, but ever since then, Florida has been on a tear. They faced the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and quickly extinguished the excitement around the team after they won their first playoff series in nearly 20 years by dispatching them 4-1 in the series.

That set up a matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals, and Florida made even quicker work of them, sweeping them out of the postseason in four games. It was more typical hard-nosed, gritty hockey from Florida, but they consistently found a way to frustrate Carolina, and easily put them to rest to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

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For those keeping track at home, the Panthers have gone on an insane 9-1 win run since beating the Bruins, and if you want to track back to their first-round series, that record jumps up to 12-1, as Florida won the final three games against Boston to send them packing. There is no team in the NHL hotter than the Panthers, and they have a really good shot of somehow winning the entire thing this postseason.

From a Bruins perspective, this is a particularly confusing situation. On one hand, the B's are out of the playoffs, so who cares. They had a 3-1 series lead against the lowest seed in the Eastern playoff bracket, and were unable to capitalize on a handful of opportunities to put them away.

But Florida has just kept on winning, embarrassing the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes on their way to the playoffs. The Bruins may have choked against them, but for the most part, they have looked to be the only team capable of beating the Panthers in the postseason so far. Did they simply run into the wrong team at the wrong time?

The Panthers success is a bit of a double-edged sword, because while you want to feel better about how tough they are playing teams right now, it also just makes the Bruins loss sting even more. Had Boston just managed to put Florida away, they likely could have found themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Panthers are playing well, but the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes provided very little resistance to them in their two latest series.

The other problem with this is that the Bruins likely gave the Panthers the juice they needed to put together this crazy run. Boston had Florida on the ropes after taking a 3-1 series lead, but the fact that they were able to overcome that deficit against the best team in regular season history may have made them invincible. Did Toronto and Carolina really stand a chance against this team?

It's complicated to assess the state of the Bruins regardless, and when you account for the Panthers postseason success after beating them, things get even murkier. In the grand scheme of things, it's ultimately a meaningless tidbit, and while it's a bit comforting to consider that Boston may have played the wrong team at the wrong time, their success shows what the B's threw away when they lost this series. The sting is still present for Bruins fans, and the Panthers magical run doesn't do much of anything to change that.