The Columbus Blue Jackets finished off one of the biggest upsets in National Hockey League history on Tuesday night by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 7-3, to finish a four-game sweep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"A little relief", said the Columbus Blue Jackets GM, his voice hoarse from a night of celebrating a 7-4 series-clinching win in Game 4. No, and it's not even close to that, but it's one of the biggest upsets in recent sports history. They had the league's best power play and penalty kill.
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Stamkos, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay, which never led in this elimination game. Then all of a sudden, you have to ramp it up.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper discussed his team's surprising ouster when he met with reporters after the loss. "They were just talking about who Tampa was going to play in the second round", said Kekalainen, who praised the players for playing a team-first game.
Columbus won its first-ever playoff series in its fifth try and advances to play the victor of the Boston-Toronto series, which the Leafs lead, 2-1. Surely, Tampa should have won at least a game. "Columbus is pretty good at shutting it down". "The last time we played here, we had a 5-1 lead, and they had completely outplayed us".
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Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets - who are a good team in their own right - came into the postseason with a number of question marks.
The gap between the best team in the league and eighth-seeded team in the conference isn't as big as with other sports. NY posted the franchise's best regular-season record in 35 years by limiting chances and relying heavily on Trotz's system that preaches pragmatism and patience. But even the most optimistic Blue Jackets fan couldn't have dreamed of sweeping the Lightning.
If Kucherov buries that shot, the Lightning lead 4-0, and who knows where the series goes from there? But they beat the Hawks 4-2, and went on to play the Celtics in the NBA Finals. NY allowed the fewest goals in the league during the regular season, and then backed it up with 12-plus periods of sound hockey that's quickly become their calling card under first-year coach Barry Trotz, who led the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup last season. Jordan Eberle scored for the fourth straight game and Brock Nelson scored the eventual go-ahead goal at the end of the first period. A lot of Tampa's adversity was self-inflicted, but give credit to Columbus. "This is an opposite scenario where we can't get too high about ourselves". Max Pacioretty scored on the Golden Knights' first shot, 1:11 into the game and Shea Theodore capped the period with another goal when he split two defensemen and backhanded past Jones, the last shot he'd see. "I don't know what to say". "We have to keep going". The team account tweeted after the game, "This isn't the ending we imagined, and certainly not the one we wanted". They knock at the door and knock at the door and then. you look at Washington, for example.
Maybe, but for both Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, the hard work is just beginning if they want to pull off the improbable.
The Lightning became the first team in the expansion era to be swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs after winning the Presidents' Trophy as the top team in the regular season. "We'll be ready for a war next game". "We've just got to execute better, and that goes for everybody". Bobrosvky was fantastic, while Vasilevskiy simply wasn't as dominant as he had been in the regular season.