Blue Jackets advance after sweep of mighty Lightning

2019 Lightning overtake 2012 Canucks for the worst playoff result for a Presidents' Trophy winner

Tampa Bay Lightning fans who think they've just witnessed the biggest choke-job in National Hockey League history can take solace in the fact that in 1982, the Edmonton Oilers finished 48 points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and blew a 5-0 lead in Game 3 en route to losing the first-round series.

COLUMBUS, OH %26#8211; APRIL 14: Ryan McDonagh #27 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 14, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

No Presidents' Trophy victor has ever been swept in the opening round of the playoffs. 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.

And what a season it was.

The Tampa Bay Lightning won 62 games this season, more than anyone in the history of ever.

"It was a great series, " wing Josh Anderson said.

"I don't know", Cooper said when asked if there's a fundamental flaw in how the team handles adversity.

If the second period felt like the Blue Jackets asserting their will in transition, in the first period the narrative was the relentless forecheck and the Lightning's inability to respond.

Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was up to the task.

It would be a complete disservice to the Blue Jackets if we didn't mention their scoring exploits, rolling four lines that kept the Lightning completely off balance. "The job's not done".

"We don't have to overthink, we just have to enjoy tonight and prepare for another work get-together, work for each other and, yup, let's see what's going to happen", Bobrovsky said. Steven Stamkos answered with a score of his own to half Tampa Bay's deficit before Seth Jones found the back of the net in the second period to widen Columbus' lead to 3-1.

In Game 3, it was a picture ideal snipe from a bad angle that tied the game just one minute after the Penguins had taken an early lead.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were the Stanley Cup favorites when the postseason got underway.

"To get to go out there and start the game with them is pretty special and hopefully do some good things", the 21-year-old native of Woodbridge, Ont., told reporters.

Daniel returned for the final two games of the series against the Kings and helped them win Game 4 to prevent a sweep, but he wasn't quite the same player he was before Keith's elbow. Pierre Luc-Dubois had a goal and a pair of assists. Columbus has converted on 15.4 percent of power-play opportunities, scoring 34 power-play goals. "I think this is a really good foundation, (and) you can do some really insane things if you stay together as a unit".

"If you had told me a year ago the day I got traded to Ottawa (from the Colorado Avalanche) that I'd be here right now, I guess anything can happen", Duchene said. Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy in 2013 and 2017 but it could be argued given the context of Tampa Bay's regular-season dominance that this was his finest hour. "But at the end of the day, it wasn't good enough top to bottom from our team".

"We're a confident group, and we have good players, good goalies and we're just going to have fun", he said. Tyler Johnson's turnover at the blue line resulted in a two-on-one that Riley Nash failed to slip to Savard on the backdoor, and Cam Atkinson generated a breakout that he whistled wide on Vasilevskiy.



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