The Tampa Bay Lightning crafted their season on depth. A next-man-up mentality. They showcased a structure of dominance throughout the regular season. However, that effort was vacant in the playoffs. During the most crucial four games of the Bolts’ once-decorated season.
Early on for the Lightning, this game was a nightmare; like oxygen from a hot air balloon. Everything that couldn’t happen… did. First, the Jackets walked out and immediately grabbed the game’s first goal following an uncharacteristic Ryan McDonagh penalty. So, Alexandre Texier had the home side up one, the cannon firing, the Lightning left dumbfounded.
Twice the Torture
Next, Lightning fans cringed. The Blue Jackets took a commanding hold on the game… Everything changed with one number: ninety one.
People were stewing. Waiting for Jon Cooper to get mad, get animated, enraged. To make a difference. He did exactly that, challenging what looked to be the 3-1 goal for the Jackets. Upon further review, the call was reversed. The man called “Coop” was fired up, and the Lightning were back in the hockey game.
There are two ways to break out of a lengthy scoring drought. Have a goal go in off your pants, or do what Steven Stamkos did. An absolutely nasty goal from the captain finally got the Lightning on the board.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) April 16, 2019
The Blue Jackets goals were those types of goals you feel five minutes before they happen. The Jackets dominated out of the gate in the second period before the scapegoat on the Stamkos goal, Seth Jones made it 3-1.
Slow and Ceddy
Cedric Paquette had yet to score a playoff goal in a Lightning uniform. Then, he burst through for the biggest goal of the Bolts’ season. Truly, what happened next couldn’t have been more catastrophic.
A Mathieu Joseph penalty put the Lightning in trouble. The Jackets immediately capitalized and it felt like the Bolts would never regain momentum. Until they did.
Mountains of Momentum
The Lightning did anything but score. They were all over Sergei Bobrovsky. You can hardly deny the fact that if anyone else were in the Blue Jackets net the Lightning would’ve tied it up. They were surging. Rebounds. One timers. Glove saves. You name it, Bobrovsky saved it. With that, the Lightning season came swiftly to an end.
Different Kind of History
The Lightning’s season was built on a foundation of records set. Yet, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was the Blue Jackets not only setting their own history with their first series win in franchise history, but they also handed the Lightning an ugly record. They became the first President’s Trophy winning team to be swept in the history of the NHL. This one will sting, but we’ll be back Lightning Nation
Bye Bye For Now
This isn’t the end for the Lightning. Consider the Capitals won Presidents’ trophy themselves, had record-setting seasons themselves. Who else but a teary-eyed Alex Ovechkin hoisting Lord Stanley last summer. While the sun has set on the Tampa Bay season, there’s no goodbye in sight. Punk rock staple Tim McIlrath of Rise Against once said “Carry on, don’t mind me. All I gave was everything. And yet you ask me for more. Fought your fight, bought your lie, and in return I lost my life.” While the Lightning’s sound dipped tonight, they haven’t yet stepped away from the mic.
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