After a year of turmoil, major trades, and a late season run to secure the 8th seed, the Columbus Blue Jackets finally began the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning. Heading into the game, pundits and national hockey commentators gave the Blue Jackets little chance of winning the series, with most predicting a gentleman’s sweep for the President’s Trophy holders.
Columbus came into the game with a dangerous offense and a suspect defense, missing Ryan Murray and Adam McQuaid. Up front, however, the Jackets boasted seven 20 goal scorers to counter the high flying Lightning.
With no pressure on the Jackets from external sources, and Sergei Bobrovsky in net for the union blue, the teams kicked off their first round playoff series.
Here’s what happened.
The first period could not have gone worse for the Blue Jackets. The team got into a track meet with the Lightning while turning the puck over repeatedly in the defensive zone. As a result, Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli, and Yanni Gourde all scored in the period to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead to go into the break. To add insult to injury, the Bolts drew a power play with 33 seconds to go. Somehow, the Jackets prevented the deficit from growing to four before the intermission.
Also, Sergei Bobrovsky struggled to control the puck, gave up too many rebounds, and let pucks through him too often. Playoff Bob struck again in the first period.
The second period was much better from Columbus. Rather than dumping and chasing the puck, and chasing hits against a faster Lightning team, the Jackets were disciplined in front of their goaltender and made smart plays through the neutral zone. This approach, more similar to the hockey they played in their winning streak late in the season, saw the team get back into the game and score a goal. Nick Foligno, following a Tampa Bay turnover, scored his seventh career playoff goal to draw Columbus back into the game.
After two periods, the Jackets trailed the Lightning 3-1.
Do you like goals?
The Blue Jackets gave you goals.
David Savard scored the goal of his career to cut it to a one goal deficit. Josh Anderson equalized the game on a shorthanded effort with David Savard distracting Vasilevskiy. Finally, Seth Jones - YOUR FUTURE CAPTAIN SETH JONES - scored the game winner with 5:55 remaining.
What a beauty. Is this really happening? pic.twitter.com/QYOfYv0l9M— x-The Cannon (@cbjcannon) April 11, 2019
Columbus Blue Jackets 4 Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Columbus leads the series 1-0.
Game Two between these two teams will happen Friday night in Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay. Face-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM EST.
Stay tuned to The Cannon for full coverage of the series!