For the first time in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets will advance to Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Blue Jackets were able to sweep the No. 1 team in the league, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa is also the winner of the Presidents’ Trophy, an award given to the team who finishes the regular season with the most points.
Tampa clinched their playoff spot back in March whereas Columbus barely made it in. They faltered and at one point weren’t even in the playoff running. However, they were able to overcome their point deficit and clinched the second wild card spot.
Within the first four minutes of the game, Columbus scored twice, including a goal from rookie Alexandre Texier. Texier is now the youngest player in Blue Jackets history to score a playoff goal.
Sergei Bobrovsky, who has a record of crumbling in the playoffs, was able to break his curse and lead the team to victory.
Starting all four games, Bobrovsky got a 2.01 goals-against-average and a .932 save percentage.
Conversely, Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky had a 3.83 GAA and a .856 save percentage.
The final score at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday was 7-3, completing the sweep for the Blue Jackets.
Fans of Columbus were beyond excited for this outcome, and they let the players know.
“That’s the loudest crowd I’ve ever played in front of, bar none,” Matt Duchene said. “You can feel how much this city needed it and wanted this.”
Even Head Coach John Tortorella was shown some love.
“I had beers poured on me from the fans. Not only at the end of the game but during the game when we scored some goals, I had two beers poured on me from the people behind me.”
Even the announcers were at a loss for words when the final seconds off the clock ticked down.
Bill Davidge, who has been with the team since their inception back in 2000, was in tears following the triumph. This season being especially dear to him as he announced his retirement just a few weeks ago.
Before he hangs the mic up forever, Davidge got to see Columbus make it the furthest they have ever gone in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Their victory throws them into Round 2 which is completely uncharted territory. They will play against the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins won a tight series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, sealing the deal on April 23 in a 5-1 battle. Boston escapes the series at 4-3.
Other teams to advance to Round 2 are the New York Islanders and the Colorado Avalanche.
New York swept the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Avalanche were able to hold on for a victory over the Calgary Flames.
The winner of the Washington Capitals/Carolina Hurricanes game will play against New York and the victor of the San Jose Sharks/Las Vegas Golden Knights series will face-off against Colorado.