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Blue Jackets score three in the third to take Game 1

Wayne Masut | Senior Staff Photographer

That special time of the year has come for hockey fans, it’s the time of year where only 16 teams will continue to play for at least a little bit anyways. Two of those teams are the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets. Thanks to the NHL, we have found some interesting stats for the first night of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

TAMPA BAY – Game one of many, but hopefully not too many… you know though in a good way. One would hope the Tampa Bay Lightning need only 16 games to earn the greatest prize in sports, but we know they will lose at least one while winning 16… Now being realistic, the national predictions point to the Lightning winning 16 games, how many they will plan in varies. Our own Brooks Roland pegged this series to end in five games, read his preview here.

Taking a series lead in game one

So there are a few ways we are going to look at these stats, overall, home and road.

  • Teams that take a 1-0 series lead in a best of seven series have a 467-214 record (68.5%)
  • Home teams that take a 1-0 series lead have a 327-106 record (75.5%)
  • Road teams don’t have as high of a winning percentage when taking a 1-0 series lead 140-108 (56.4%)

Season series goes Lightning’s way

The last time these two teams faced off was nearly two months ago. It was the final of a three game season series that the Lightning swept 3-0. The final game came down to a 5-1 Lightning victory. Sergei Bobrovsky only played in two of those games, going 0-2 with a 6.66 GAA. Over his career versus the Lightning, Bobrobsky is 5-5 in 13 games with a 3.44 GAA. While his Lightning counterpart Andrei Vasilevskiy was 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA. His career numbers against the Blue Jackets are 6-2 in eight games with a 1.74 GAA.

Nikita Kucherov managed four goals and five assists, while Steven Stamkos only managed one goal and one assist. The Blue Jackets big gun Artemi Panarin didn’t register a single point, and was a minus six in three games. Lightning forward Brayden Point also notched nine points against the Blue Jackets (six goals, three assists).

Experience matters

When looking at the more experienced playoff team, the choice between Columbus and Tampa is simple. The Blue Jackets have a combined 360 games of playoff experience with one player over 60 games. Tampa Bay has nearly three times the experience, with 869 games and nine players over 60 games. Dan Girardi has played in the most with tonight being his 140th career playoff game.

Killer strikes early

Following penalties to Girardi and Brandon Dubinsky, Alex Killorn would strike the first goal of the game and third shorthanded goal in the last three games. Seth Jones stumbled along the boards with the puck and off went Killorn, one on one with Bobrovsky.

His best postseason came in 2014-2015 when he played in 26 games and notched nine goals and nine assists. The last two seasons Killorn has scored five goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Just about seven minutes later the Lightning would take a 2-0 lead. Bobrovsky would try to clear the puck out of the zone along the boards, but JT Miller with the great read got the puck to Erik Cernak. The rookie defenseman ripped a shot on net before rookie forward Anthony Cirelli would bury the rebound to give the Bolts the two goal lead.

Yanni Gourde wanted to make sure the Bolts had a comfortable lead heading into the 1st intermission. With Jan Rutta making his playoff debut, he found a open Mikhail Sergachev, who rocketed a shot towards Bobrovsky. Gourde eagerly waiting in front redirected the shot for a 3-0 Lightning lead.

Foligno gets the Blue Jackets on the board

It seemed when the second period started that Columbus had a little spark brewing inside them. With the Lightning deep in Columbus’ zone, Ryan McDonagh would attempt a cross ice pass to Cernak. The puck went off the boards and right onto the stick of a streaking Nick Foligno. The Blue Jackets Captain rushed towards Vasilevskiy and got the puck past him to cut the Bolts lead to two goals.

Blue Jackets tie it up

The familiar goal horn hasn’t been heard since the first period, but not for lack of trying. While Columbus has been pushing since the start of the second period, Tampa Bay has had a few good chances. Columbus defenseman David Savard did something no one thought he could do. Streaking down the right side of the ice, Savard deked out Victor Hedman and put a shot past Vasilevskiy to cut the lead 3-2. While killing a four minute penalty, Blue Jackets put the game basically back to zero at a 3-3 tie. The play happened due to Stamkos apparently bumping Vasilevskiy in the crease. Following a penalty to Alex Killorn that gave Columbus a 41 second power play, Seth Jones would put a shot past Vasilevskiy for a 4-3 lead. They would go onto win the game after scoring four unanswered goals.

Check out our locker room coverage over on our YouTube Page

Up Next

Columbus (1-0) and Tampa (0-1) will face off in game two of the opening round in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday at 7pm from Amalie Arena


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