The Tampa Bay Lightning strolled into the playoffs as the league’s number one team. Four games later, they have been eliminated by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Unless you’re a die-hard fan of the Blue Jackets, chances are many fans didn’t see Columbus reaching the second round. Very few people would have believed it would be a sweep as well. If any bettors took the risk of placing a wager for the Blue Jackets to sweep the series, they have just made a lot of money.
Tonight, the Lightning were on the edge of a towering cliff. On brush of wind would knock them off the edge and that’s exactly what happened. Not only did the Blue Jackets trample over one of the best teams in NHL history, but they also embarrassed them in the victory. By a score of 7-3, the Blue Jackets are moving on to the second round.
One reason the Lightning were unable to reach the second round was the fact that their offense fell flat. Steven Stamkos had only two points in the playoffs. Brayden Point scored his only goal of the playoffs tonight and Nikita Kucherov tallied 0 points in the two games played. It’s a huge difference compared to the dominating season those three had.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets saw Zach Werenski and Seth Jones record 5 and 4 points respectively. The Blue Jackets also saw how clutch Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene can be. The Blue Jackets got hot at the right time and that’s all you need to knock out a team like Tampa Bay.
Netminder Sergei Bobrovsky also gave the Blue Jackets a chance to win every night. In four postseason games, he has a GAA of 2.01 and a save percentage of .932. Only one other goalie has better stats than Sergei in four games so far.
The Lightning turned to dust. One can only imagine how the fans and team feel after such an incredible regular season. Their first-round exit proves that in the NHL, any team can win.
Can the Blue Jackets continue their Cinderella run? They will face the winners of the Boston Bruins/Toronto Maple Leafs series.