The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the verge of making franchise history following their 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 Sunday night.
A win on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC) would not only mean a shocking sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy winning Lightning, but also give the Blue Jackets their first ever Stanley Cup playoff series victory.
Remember when the Lightning jumped out to a 3-0 lead 17:50 into Game 1? No one saw this coming.
Playing in front of an energetic Nationwide Arena crowd, the Blue Jackets continued their puck possession dominance and again piled on after scoring. Matt Duchene, who now has five points in the series, opened the scoring 1:44 into the second period.
Columbus built on that lead 6:41 later when Oliver Bjorkstrand made it 2-0 on the power play, which is now 4-for-8 in the series. The goal left the Lightning stunned.
Ondrej Palat gave Tampa a fighting chance with an early third period goal, but even as they continually tried to test Sergei Bobrovsky, they couldn’t solve the Blue Jackets’ netminder, who ended the night with 30 saves.
“I thought [Bobrovsky] came up really big in those 10-12 minutes when they really turned it on,” said Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella.
Already without Nikita Kucherov (suspension) and Victor Hedman (injury), the Lightning still had enough weapons to mount a comeback in the series starting with Game 3, but the suffocating play of the Blue Jackets kept Tampa’s stars quiet. Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos have yet to record a point while combining for 12 total shots on net.
Out of 32 Presidents’ Trophy winners, only eight have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. Zero have been swept in Round 1. The Lightning has no margin for error remaining.
The Blue Jackets will go for the sweep Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET on CNBC