The Lightning avenged last year’s sweep against the Blue Jackets.
The Tampa Bay Lightning entered the 2019 postseason as the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They were then promptly swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.
It was only fitting for the two teams to meet up once again in this year’s postseason. The Blue Jackets took down the Toronto Maple Leafs in the qualifying round to set up another matchup with the Lightning. Game 1 went into five overtimes and was won by Tampa Bay, setting the tone for the rest of the series.
The Lightning officially got their revenge Wednesday afternoon with a 3-2 victory in overtime to take the series 4-1.
The Lightning handled business this time around
This series was tied 1-1 after two games and Lightning fans may have been worried. The team entered the series as the number two seed in the conference and another loss to the Jackets may raise questions of whether it would be time to make major changes.
Instead, the Lightning took the final three games of the series by a one-goal margin in each game.
Wednesday’s Game 5 showed who the better team was and the evidence came in the third period. The Jackets had a 4-2 lead with under 10 minutes remaining. Then Kevin Shattenkirk made it a one-goal game. Columbus still held a lead in the final two minutes but an Anthony Cirelli goal seemed to signal the series was over.
A Brayden Point goal in overtime put off the inevitable and what began as a legendary series for Joonas Korpisalo ended with the Jackets goaltender being outmatched. However, his 85 saves in Game 1 should never be forgotten.
The better team won the series and the Lightning were able to make up for last year’s loss. Lighting fans can argue it is tougher to win this year without any home-ice advantage, while Blue Jackets fans can claim the series is all tied at 1-1 now.