First-round NHL playoff action will continue this evening and the Atlantic Division will square off with the Metro Division. Tonight, we will see the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lighting attempt to stave off elimination when they invade Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio to grapple with 8th seeded Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets lead this best-of-seven series 3-0.
Bolts Look To Stave Off Elimination
So the Tampa Bay Lightning tied the league record for most wins in a season with 62 and they were a great home team, plus they had the best offense in the league. Despite all that, they are in a deep hole against the Blue Jackets as the trail them 3-0 in the series. The Lightning were huge favorites to win this series and they were also big favorites to win the Stanley Cup Title. Now, all those chances have become very slim and they will have no shot of coming back if they don’t get their offense going. They led the league in scoring, but have scored a total of five goals in the three games so far. In their last game, they lost by a score of 3-1 and scoring their lone goal was Ondrej Palat, which was his 9th of the year.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 16, 2019
Absorbing the loss was Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed five goals on 27 shot attempts. He has gone 6-2 with a 1.74 GAA against the Blue Jackets in his career (regular season), including 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA against them this year. Vasilevskiy was 39-14 with a 2.40 GAA during the regular season, including 16-6 with a 2.48 GAA out on the road. In his career, he has gone 15-13 with a 2.81 GAA in the postseason. Tampa Bay has gone 30-12 on the road and they have averaged 3.69 gpg and have allowed 2.90 gpg in those games. During the regular season, the Lightning ranked 1st in power play conversions at 28.2% and 1st in penalty kill at 85.0%.
Blue Jackets Are Pulling A Stunner
The series is not over yet, but it is very hard for a team to come back from 3-0 down. The Blue Jackets were heavy underdogs in this series and they are the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference, but they are clearly in the driver’s seat and looking to pull a shocking first-round upset. Columbus really played well down the stretch of the regular season as they won seven of their final eight games and they have used that momentum to move to within one game of moving on in the NHL playoffs. Columbus has allowed just 1.73 gpg over their last 11 games and they have held the top offense in the league to just five goals in the three games of this series, after allowing Tampa Bat 17 goals in the three regular-season meetings. Scoring in the 3-1 win was Matt Duchene, which was his 33rd of the year, Oliver Bjorkstrand, which was his 24th, and Cam Atkinson, which was his 43rd.
Go into the #CBJ locker room and behind the scenes during our Game 3 victory!
— x-Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 15, 2019
Grabbing the win was Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 22 of the 24 shots that he faced in the game. He was 0-2 with a 6.67 GAA against the Bolts this year, while in his career (regular season), he has gone 5-6 with a 3.44 GAA against them. Bobrovsky was 37-25 with a 2.58 GAA on the year overall, including 18-14 with a 2.73 GAA here at home. In his career, he has gone 7-14 with a 3.36 GAA in 26 playoff games. The Blue Jackets have gone 23-19 here at home and they have averaged 3.24 gpg and have allowed 2.98 gpg in those games. Columbus was 28th in the league in power play conversions, during the regular season, at 15.4% and 2nd in penalty kill at 85.0%.
Tampa Bay is:
- 44-11 in their last 55 vs. the Eastern Conference
- 46-14 in their last 60 games as a favorite
- 7-16 in their last 23 Conference Quarterfinals games
- The Dog is 6-14 the last 20 games in this series.