Thursday, 25 April, 2019

Blue Jackets stun NHL-best Lightning in four-game sweep

After winning the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top team in the regular season the Tampa Bay Lightning are on the verge of being swept out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019 Lightning overtake 2012 Canucks for the worst playoff result for a Presidents' Trophy winner
Cassandra Castillo | 17 April, 2019, 15:53

Then they went out and got swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets, becoming the second President's Trophy victor to do that.

They're well aware getting the fourth will be the hardest one of all.

Columbus had two goals on the board within the first four minutes on Tuesday, thanks to Alexandre Texier and Pierre-Luc Dubois, and it looked like it was going to dominate its way through Game 4 like it did the previous two.

The Lightning had 128 points in the regular season, with a points percentage of.780, the second-highest rate for an 82-game season in National Hockey League history, behind only the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings (.799).

They tied the 1996-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins in a season with 62.

Winning their division obviously didn't work out but Columbus' gutsy approach at the deadline is certainly paying off now and they are on the brink of causing an almighty upset.

"I'm happy for them because they played as a team, and they had a tremendous amount of will, " Tortorella said.

Lightning: 4-6-0, averaging 4.2 goals, 6.3 assists, 4.2 penalties and 11.2 penalty minutes while giving up 3.2 goals per game with a.902 save percentage. "Everything you're feeling - we get it. CBJ!" long after the players were out of sight. Then all of a sudden, you have to ramp it up.

The Tampa Bay Lightning finds themselves in a rather unexpected position as they prepare for tonight's Game 4 action against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Indeed, the Lightning made history in the 2019 playoffs - just not the kind any coach would want. "It sucks", Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said.

There's plenty to unpack in the Blue Jackets' sweep of the Lightning, but perhaps the most important for Canucks fans is that it erases an ignominious mark on their favourite franchise. The Jackets had 30 takeaways in four games, while Tampa Bay had 21.

"People expect us to do something special", Kucherov said.

Historically, the Blue Jackets are not a good playoff team. Even when the Lightning broke through the Columbus defense, Bobrovsky made key saves. The Avalanche, the worst team to qualify for the postseason, now lead the Western Conference regular season champs 2-1 in the series.

Although we all love a good old underdog story, it will be interesting to see just how much any potential success the Columbus Blue Jackets have this postseason affects the Rangers. Tampa Bay was only down by one with less than a minute to go in the third period, but an empty-netter scored by Cam Atkinson sealed a two-goal victory for the Blue Jackets.

"Yeah, it sucks", said Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who had 128 points in the regular season but was kept off the scoresheet until Tuesday night. The play resulted in a one-game suspension in Game 3 for Kucherov.

The Lightning have been outscored 13-2 since the start of the second period in Game 1, and they have been outworked, outsmarted and outclassed by a Columbus team who have put it all together at just the right time. But it's one thing to say it, and it's another to execute. The Blue Jackets pummeled the Lightning 5-1 in Game 2, and solidly outplayed them for most of the game Sunday. "It's great. It gives you more energy when you win". "We're excited about the opportunity we've given ourselves but we know it's going to be the hardest game of the series". "We just didn't have an answer". I don't know what we finished the season with, but it seemed like we scored every game.

"It's hard to win in this league".

"Sometimes when you shoot the puck, it goes in". 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. "We're getting close to our game and it's pretty unsafe". "It's that clear. For six days in April, we couldn't find it", Cooper said. "And it's unfortunate because it puts a bluntness on what was one hell of a regular season". Bobrosvky was fantastic, while Vasilevskiy simply wasn't as dominant as he had been in the regular season.

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