Blue Jackets make history in sweep of top-seeded Lightning

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

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

Their goal differential was in the triple digits: +103. "We just scored every time we went down the ice". He was one of three Lightning forwards with 40+ goals. Columbus scored three empty-netters in the final two minutes as the 'lebration in 'lumbus erupted.

They're well aware getting the fourth will be the hardest one of all. "It's unfortunate because it puts a blemish on what was one helluva regular season". The Lightning had the most effective power play since 1988-89 in the regular season, at 28.1 percent.

Ticket-holders anticipating a series sweep on Tuesday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus were reminded by arena security through Twitter to leave their brooms at home due to safety concerns.

The game was scoreless through the opening 20 minutes before Matt Duchene gave the Blue Jackets the lead 1:44 into the 2nd period.

The Islanders weathered Pittsburgh's early push and went ahead with 1:54 to go in the first period when Nelson slipped behind Penguins forward Garrett Wilson and darted to the net.

It's an historic result. The Lightning are the first team ever in the expansion era to get swept in the first round after leading the league in points.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, didn't clinch the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot until the 81st game. The Blue Jackets pummeled the Lightning 5-1 in Game 2, and solidly outplayed them for most of the game Sunday.

Sergei Bobrovsky has the Columbus Blue Jackets on the brink of sweeping a playoff series that hardly anyone thought they could win.

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Somehow making it even worse for the Lightning, this was the first playoff series win for the Blue Jackets in franchise history. This simply must come to an end if the Lightning has any hopes of coming back and truly fighting to advance to the next round. It's going to be on the players to put one skate in front of the other and bring the fight to the Blue Jackets and it'll be on one Jon Cooper to put the right pieces in play at the right time. Bailey's shot found its target, and the Islanders finished off the three-time champion Penguins in a sweep.

If the Lightning can get back to working like the well-oiled machine they were in the regular season, the Bolts will be able to fight back and prove they're still the team to beat in the postseason. There was just one problem.

Kucherov was suspended for Game 3 of the series for an illegal check in Game 2. Vegas forward Max Pacioretty stressed his team is wary regardless of how easy they've made it look by taking Games 2 and 3 by a combined 11-6. "It's great. It gives you more energy when you win". After quietly posting the best season of his career, Stamkos couldn't find a way onto the scoresheet until Game 4, but it was too little, too late. And the start to Game 4 was no different. He made just 16 saves on 19 shots in the deciding Game 7.

The Detroit Red Wings similarly lost in six games to the Edmonton Oilers in 2006 after winning the Presidents' Trophy. The Oilers would go on to lose in the Stanley Cup Finals in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes. Goaltender Jonas Hiller had the Sharks' number all series, posting two shutouts.

But the Jackets didn't just win a series.

The Golden Knights took a step toward knocking the Sharks out of the playoffs for the second straight year by rolling to a 6-3 win in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead. At the same time, he led the league with nine shutouts, including four in his last nine games of the regular season. Jones and partner Zach Werenski were the best pairing in the series, showcasing well-rounded offensive games and provided the Blue Jackets with even more secondary scoring. "We don't care about what happened in the regular season".

It's an ugly finish to a attractive season for the 2019 Lightning, just as it was for the 2012 Canucks.

Likewise, goaltending was a big story in the playoffs for the 2012 Canucks.

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