David Dominates Goliath
The Columbus Blue Jackets have swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Odds of a Jackets sweep? +3200 (via BetOnline) For those who do not bet on sports... if you put $100 on a Columbus sweep... you would've won $3200!!!
Early in this series, I mean the first 18 minutes of game one, Tampa looked like they were going to absolutely run away with the series. This was the result expected by everyone before the series even began.
For the remaining 3 games, 2 periods and 2 minutes, the Blue Jackets outscored the Lightning 19-5, completing the sweep at home in game four. They also held off a major push at the end of game four to secure the first-round sweep.
The Jackets were led by their star players and deadline acquisitions:
Matt Duchene 3 G. 4 A. 7 PTS
Zach Werenski 1 G. 4 A. 5 PTS
Artemi Panarin. 2 G. 3 A. 5 PTS
Cam Atkinson 2 G. 2 A. 4 PTS
Seth Jones 2 G. 2 A. 4 PTS
Sergei Bobrovsky 4 W. 2.00 GAA. 93.1 SV%.
Matt Duchene has shown how effective in big games he can be in this series after a lot of doubt throughout his career. He scored at a pace of 1.5 points per game in the first round. He will look to continue his success in round two.
The five players above led the Jackets’ power play to go 6-for-10 in the final 3 games of the series. Although, having a line of Panarin, Foligno, Atkinson, Duchene and Werenski with space on the ice… is a scary look against any team in the league.
The Jackets also shut down Stamkos (98 Regular Season Points), Point (92 Regular Season Points) and Kucherov (128 Regular Season Points) to 5 points in 4 games. They also held the league’s top regular season power play (28.2% Success Rate) to go 1-for-6 in the series… it helps they only took 6 minor penalties in the four games.
Tortorella deserves a lot of credit in this series win. I don’t know exactly what he said in the 1st intermission of game one, but whatever it was... stuck with them through the entire series. I do know it was probably filled with more profanity than the average hockey locker room.
The Jackets now wait for the winner of the Toronto and Boston series.
The Leafs won the season series 2-1-0, outscoring the Jackets 10-to-6… however, their last matchup was on December 12th… meaning newly acquired Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel were not yet on the Jackets’ roster. If this ends up being the second-round matchup, there will be a ton of skill, a ton of speed, a ton of heart and a ton of hits. All the while, two fantastic goalies in Anderson and Bobrovsky will go head-to-head.
The Bruins won the season series 2-1-0 (*one of their wins were in OT). All three of these matchups came post-deadline, which means this would be a good indication of how the series would go… and that means it would be a good, close series.