The Columbus Blue Jackets have reached the second round for the first time in franchise history, in truly historic fashion. How historic is this sweep by Columbus? It is the first time a Presidents’ Trophy winner has been swept in the first round. The Blue Jackets await the winner of the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs series. Currently the Maple Leafs lead the series 2-1.
Round one concluded Tuesday night in Columbus as the Blue Jackets defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 in a very close game. The score shows something completely different, but a dominant third period changed the score drastically. The Blue Jackets scored three empty net goals to push their 4-3 lead to a 7-3 victory.
In four games, the Blue Jackets had 12 different goal scorers in the series. A little bit of everybody pitched in to help secure round one. On another note, seven of those goal scorers had more than one in the series. Matt Duchene tallied three goals throughout the first round. His line mate Cam Atkinson, scored twice in the series.
Game one got off to an ugly start as the Jackets went down 3-0 in the first 20 minutes. After turning the page, they came away with a 4-3 victory on a Seth Jones game winning goal in the final 6 minutes.
Game two was all Columbus. The Blue Jackets wasted no time in this one and came out on top 5-1. This game proved to be the pivotal point in the series as Tampa Bay would lose MVP candidate Nikita Kucherov to a one game suspension for a dirty hit.
Game three started slow as both teams were scoreless after the first period. Columbus pushed through at home for a 3-1 victory to go up 3-0 in the series.
Game four both teams played each other extremely tough. Knowing it all was on the line, Tampa Bay threw “everything but the kitchen sink” at Columbus. The Blue Jackets ultimately proved too tough for the Lightning and won 7-3.
The Blue Jackets outscored the Tampa Bay Lightning 19-8 during round one. Sergei Bobrovsky stood tall all series and helped to push for the second round. His total save percentage is .933% in the playoffs.