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Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: It’s time for a rematch

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Let’s exorcise last year’s playoff demons.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning: ROUND 1, GAME 1

Time: 3:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Scotiabank Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, SN, SUN, FS-O, TVAS

Opponent SBNation Site: Jackets Cannon

Preview:

The road to the Stanley Cup is never easy. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, this year’s path begins with a very familiar opponent — those pesky Columbus Blue Jackets, who just dispatched the Toronto Maple Leafs in 5 games and made it look very easy most of the time.

The biggest advantage the Lightning have over the Blue Jackets is that they are well-rested. However, the Blue Jackets are healthier, having gotten back top defensemen Zach Werenski and Ryan Murray back in time for Game 5 against Toronto.

Meanwhile, the Lightning will start this series without Steven Stamkos and Jan Rutta, with Victor Hedman’s status ‘to be determined’ for this afternoon’s game. The Bolts struggled mightily after he left their final round robin game against Philadelphia and will need a full team effort in order to overcome his absence if he’s unable to play.

Columbus proved in their qualifier series that they are the same, offense-stifling, relentless team that swept Tampa Bay last year. Hopefully the Lightning have learned from that tough lesson, but it means they can’t be at any less than their best in every game. The Blue Jackets may not be as offensively talented, but they are opportunistic, and they will make the Lightning pay if they make mistakes.

Regardless, it should be another intense, hard-fought series — that hopefully ends up being closer than last year’s. Lightning playoff hockey is back. There’s no better way to fight your way for a Stanley Cup than to kick the journey off by exorcising past playoff demons.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson

Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman

Cedric Paquette - Mitchell Stephens - Carter Verhaeghe

Alex Volkov, Mathieu Joseph

Injured: Steven Stamkos

Defense Pairs

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk

Braydon Coburn - Zach Bogosian

Luke Schenn

Injured: Victor Hedman, Jan Rutta

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Columbus Blue Jackets

Forwards

Alexandre Texier - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Cam Atkinson

Gustav Nyquist - Boone Jenner - Nick Foligno

Liam Foudy - Riley Nash - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Eric Robinson - Alexander Wennberg - Nathan Gerbe

Defense Pairs

Zach Werenski - Seth Jones

Vladislav Gavrikov - David Savard

Ryan Murray - Markus Nutivaara

Dean Kukan

Goaltenders

Joonas Korpisalo

Matiss Kivlenieks

Injured: Elvis Merzlikins