Tuesday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled off one of the more historic upsets in the history of sports. Columbus swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in incredible fashion, dominating Tampa in every aspect. But this wasn't just a regular #1 seed, this was a 62 regular-season win, Presidents' Trophy-winning, NHL record-breaking team that Columbus absolutely dismantled. Nobody was giving Columbus a chance to win the series, much less sweep, including me.
I knew we wouldn't get swept, but to win in such an incredible fashion was beyond my wildest dreams. I went to game three with my boyfriend here in Columbus, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The atmosphere was electric, with 18,000 screaming Jackets fans on their feet cheering for their team. This series win is even more special for Columbus because it is the first time the Blue Jackets have won a playoff series in franchise history, and to do it in such spectacular fashion just adds to the excitement of sweeping one of the best teams in NHL history.
The stats in the series for Columbus really speak for themselves. Matt Duchene lead Columbus with 3 goals, and five other players are tied at 2 goals apiece in the series, including Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had a 2.01 GAA in the series, and only allowed eight goals over four games. Columbus outscored Tampa 19-5 after the first period of game one, and the Lightning had not lost three consecutive games all season until the Jackets came along. With players on all lines playing at high levels, if Columbus can keep up this level of play with this level of confidence, there's nobody Columbus can't compete with in their quest for the cup.
In other NHL news, almost all my first round predictions were very wrong, especially the fact that I had Tampa Bay winning the series in six games, but hey, that's why I don't predict playoff winners for a living. The Islanders swept the Pens, which made Tuesday even better, but the sweep also surprised the NHL. Nashville is up 2-1 over Dallas, Toronto is 2-1 over Boston, Winnipeg and St. Louis are tied at 2-2, Washington is up 2-1 over Carolina, Vegas is looking to win the series in game five over San Jose and is currently up 3-1, and Colorado is up 2-1 over Calgary. Columbus will play the winner of the Toronto-Boston series, which is looking to be a possible game seven dog fight. But regardless, we're very proud of Columbus and the team has a very good shot at winning the cup after their play in the Lightning series.