Tampa Bay Lightning Swept In Four Games After Historic Regular Season

Bobrovsky carried the day again for the Blue Jackets, finishing with 30 saves. As Tampa Bay won a whopping 62 games this season, lapping the field, Washington might have seen the Lightning's unfortunate fate coming. In fact, there was a time - like, just over a week ago - that you could say they were one of the best teams ever. Not only were they the No. 1 seed, but with 128 points, they had 21 more points than the next-best team.1 Those 128 points were also the fourth-most in National Hockey League history, while their 62 wins were tied for the most ever.

Now, contrast that with the Columbus Blue Jackets, an unlikely bunch. Their first-round matchup was supposed to be a walkover.

No matter what happens next, whether the Columbus Blue Jackets continue bushwhacking through the rest of these Stanley Cup playoffs or bow out quietly next round, GM Jarmo Kekalainen's steel-bellied decision to double down on rentals around the trade deadline has already paid off in spades. He joins me now via Skype.

CORNISH: Help us understand.

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

WYSHYNSKI: Oh, quite good. "Once you're in, every team has a chance to win". NY posted the franchise's best regular-season record in 35 years by limiting chances and relying heavily on Trotz's system that preaches pragmatism and patience. "We've just got to execute better, and that goes for everybody". Didn't they win the Presidents' [Trophy]? Inexplicably, Nikita Kucherov has been non-existent in the postseason.

WYSHYNSKI: (Laughter) Well, I think Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh put it best. But the bigger picture is this for the Lightning.

The Lightning became the NHL's first Presidents' Trophy victor ever to be swept in a best-of-seven, opening-round playoff series.

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It's going to take a serious amount of divine intervention for the Lightning to pull themselves out of the ridiculously oversized hole they've dug over the past three games. "I was kind of surprised". "It's reality", Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after Game 4. We don't have any words.

"Next year, we need to understand, young guys - they're hungry", Malkin said.

"But we have to believe that with the group we have - whoever is in the lineup or not - that we can win a game and get back to Tampa". The eighth seed Nashville Predators face up against the number one seed Chicago Blackhawks and the tail end of the Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews fueled dynasty. Thank you for being there the entire way. The Penguins own the NHL's longest active playoff streak at 13 years and counting.

WYSHYNSKI: (Laughter) No, but they have a lot to apologize for. 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 Barry Trotz, who led the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup last season and now potentially awaits a rematch against his former team in the second round. "If we had the answers we would have found a way to win a game".

Through 11 of the 12 periods that it took the Blue Jackets to dispose of the Lightning, though, Bobrovsky was unquestionably excellent.

WYSHYNSKI: (Laughter) There might be. And coach John Tortorella's physical, swarming neutral-zone forecheck proved to be the ideal antidote for Tampa's vaunted, north-south rush attack. And there's also something scrappy about this franchise.

Columbus has commanded the series since falling behind 3-0 in the opening period of Game 1, only to rally to win that one 4-3. "We have to keep going".

WYSHYNSKI: I think so. While they made changes off the ice, including the hiring of head coach Barry Trotz, there was still doubt about what the team would do during the season, mainly because of the players - and a certain player - they lost.

  • Lawrence Cooper