The highly anticipated series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets is not proceeding how many foresaw. The Blue Jackets pulled off a miraculous comeback in Game One to claim it 4-3. Then in Game Two on Friday night, the Blue Jackets played even better and beat the Lightning 5-1. So now Columbus shockingly holds a 2-0 series lead. But in fact, both teams have already been there, it’s nothing new for them.
Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets Face Recent Memory
Last season, both teams ended up in similar spots as this season. The Tampa Bay Lightning claimed the Eastern Conference and the Blue Jackets finished seventh overall in the East. It is definitely surprising a lot that the Blue Jackets were able to win both games played at Amelie Arena in Tampa Bay. In fact, both the Lightning and Columbus have been there and they have the experience from the past season.
During the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Lightning lost both of their opening two games at home against the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference final. Earlier, the Blue Jackets won the first two road games versus the Capitals in the first round. We all know how that couple of stories winded up. Both Columbus and Tampa Bay have an experience they will try to learn from in the continuation of the series.
Columbus Blue Jackets Blew A 2-0 Series Lead Last Season
In the past season, it was all quite similar just like now. The Blue Jackets faced the Metropolitan division champions in the Washington Capitals. The Caps were the heavy favorites of the series. On the other side, the Columbus Blue Jackets were underdogs, but the first two games at Capital One Arena promised to bring the different story.
The Blue Jackets won Game One after trailing 0-2 and they have never possessed a lead in that game. The Jackets completed their comeback in overtime with Artemi Panarin´s game-winner. In Game Two, the Capitals had another 2-0 lead, which the Blue Jackets managed to erase, they won in overtime again thanks to a goal by Matt Calvert. Sergei Bobrovsky made 54 saves on 58 shots that night.
The Blue Jackets have never won a playoff series before and they found themselves on the brink of doing that. In a challenging Game 3 at Nationwide Arena, it was a hard-fought battle, but the Capitals won it in double-overtime with Lars Eller´s tally. Ever since this point, the series was rather clear as the Caps won four straight to claim the series 4-2. It was disappointing for Columbus.
Ironically, once again as the underdogs, they have the very same situation on the table again. Heading to Game Three at home with a 2-0 series lead. Have they learned their lesson from the last season? That time they failed to win any of their home games in the remainder of the series.
Tampa Bay Lightning Erased 0-2 Deficit in the Playoffs
The Lightning were able to take down the New Jersey Devils in the first round and then the Boston Bruins in the second round. They dropped just two games in the process, but facing the Capitals wasn’t easy for them. The Caps won Game One and also Game Two at Amelie Arena and left the Lightning pretty much stunned.
Washington combined for 10 goals scored in those first two road games and seemingly left no doubt that they want to make the Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning, however, regrouped and showed a completely different effort on the road. They have returned the favour to the Capitals and won both Game Three and Game Four on the road. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 72 saves on 76 shots he faced during both games.
The Lightning continued their momentum as they won Game Five on home ice and had the chance to eliminate their opponent. That didn’t materialize as they couldn’t score a single goal in the rest of the series and Washington made it throught.
In the Lightning’s franchise history, they have been down 0-2 in the playoff series just four times before. In 2003, Tampa Bay came back from losing first two home games to eventually beat Washington 4-2 in the first round. In the second round, they failed to comeback from a 0-2 deficit and lost versus the New Jersey Devils. Later in 2013, the Lightning playing with the home-ice advantage got swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. Last season, even thought Tampa Bay partially came back, they lost the series at the end.
What History Storyline Will Be Repeated?
It sure seems like both teams have already been there before. Last season, the Blue Jackets had a 2-0 lead after two road games against Washington. They blew that lead and lost the next four contests. They definitely want to take a lesson from that painful experience as they still seek the first ever playoff series victory in their franchise history.
On the other hand, here are the Tampa Bay Lightning coming back from a 0-2 deficit after first two home games. The Lightning won three consecutive games that time. They would like to repeat it, but with a bit of the different overall ending of the series. Their main focus now is to win Game Three and Game Four in Columbus, similarly to what they accomplished last year versus the Capitals. At the end of the day, Tampa Bay has lost three of the four playoff series when trailing 0-2 in their history.
One of these storylines will be repeated, or we might see a totally new outcome, as the Blue Jackets have never won a playoff series yet in their franchise history. This playoff series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets will definitely write a great storyline, we shall see how this continues on Sunday at Nationwide Arena.
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