Blue Jackets Do Everything Right in Series Sweep of the Lightning
By Patrick Hoffman
I cannot believe I am writing this, but the Columbus Blue Jackets have done the unthinkable and swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
I am not kidding folks. The Blue Jackets swept the best team in the league by a mile for their first playoff round win in franchise history after defeating the Bolts by a score of 4-3 in Game 4 on Tuesday night, April 16.
What a way to win your first playoff series, eh? You go out and defeat the best team in the NHL in four straight games and now find yourselves with n opportunity to make even more noise come the second round.
In looking at the series as a whole, it really wasn't close in any way shape or form. The Blue Jackets dominated in every facet of the game and because of it, the Lightning are hitting the golf course much earlier than expected.
For starters, the Blue Jackets forechecked the heck out of the Bolts. They were first on pucks, won all the battles along the boards, pressured the Bolts in all three zones, and simply forced the Bolts to make a lot of mistakes.
Secondly, the Blue Jackets actually outperformed the Lightning on offense. In four games, the Blue Jackets scored 19 goals while the Lightning scored just eight goals.
The Blue Jackets got great offensive performances from the likes of Matt Duchene (7 points), Zach Werenski (5 points), Cam Atkinson (4 points), Oliver Bjorkstrand (4 points) and Artemi Panarin (4 points). These guys came up big when they needed to and they all played in a big part in helping their club advance to the next round.
Believe it or not, the team's netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky, actually played well in a playoff series. This is his first playoff series win and in the four games, made the big saves when his team needed one, he controlled his rebounds, he swallowed up pucks, and he did exactly what he needed to do to help his team win the series.
The team's head coach John Tortorella also deserves a ton of credit. He had his team ready to go from the start and even when they were down 3-0 after the first period in Game 1, he kept his calm and allowed his team to play their game in order to win.
The Blue Jackets simply outclassed the Lightning in every single way. They dominated in every facet of the game and with the exception of the first period in Game 1, they were the better team in every single game and every single period.
The Blue Jackets deserved this, folks. They worked their tails off every night in this series and proved that when push came to shove, they could be better than the Lightning.
It's time to see what else they can accomplish.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.