Tampa Bay Lightning swept out of playoffs by Blue Jackets
Seth Jones celebrates a Blue Jackets goal with teammates in Game 4.
It’s 62 and out for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The team that tied the NHL record of 62 wins during the regular season – a record set by the Red Wings in 1995-96 – is going home in the middle of April after being swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"Yeah, it sucks," Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov told the Canadian Press. "Nothing was our way in the series. I don't know what to say."
He led the league in scoring with 128 points but did not manage a point in the series until Game 4.
Columbus completed the sweep in the Eastern Conference series on Tuesday night with a 7-3 win in front of its home fans at Nationwide Arena. It is the Blue Jackets’ first-ever playoff series win.
“It's a great feeling to finally get one,” Columbus defenseman David Savard said. “The job's not done. We have to keep going.”
Columbus is also the first team to sweep a winner of the Presidents' Trophy, given to the team with the best record, in the first round. It is the third time a Presidents' Trophy winner has been swept. The others were Detroit in the 1995 Stanley Cup Final and the Calgary Flames in the 1988 Smythe Division Final.
"It was a great series," Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson told the Associated Press. "That’s the way we want to play."
The Blue Jackets will play the winner of the Boston Bruins-Toronto Maple Leafs series.
Brayden Point’s goal with 2:08 left in the second period tied the game 3-3 for Tampa Bay, but Oliver Bkorkstrand scored just 54 seconds later to restore the Blue Jackets’ one-goal lead.
Artemi Panarin, Texier and Matt Duchene added empty-net goals in the final two minutes.
Seth Jones also scored for Columbus.
Steven Stamkos and Cedric Paquette got the Lightning’s other goals.
"They were the better team," said Stamkos, Tamba Bay’s captain. "They executed their game plan. I don't know what to say. If we had the answers, we would have found a way to win a game."
The New York Islanders also completed a sweep of their first-round Eastern Conference series on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.