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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay can’t let Columbus sit back with a lead

And why all the other first round series are way more fun.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Two
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 13: Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning stops a shot against Riley Nash #20 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 13, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Why is this happening again?! This is the second time this postseason, and the third time in two years, where a Blue and White team I cheer for gets stuck in the mud that is the Columbus Blue Jackets. That’s their game, it’s so obviously simple, which makes it all the more annoying.

Early mistakes by the Tampa Bay Lightning gave the Blue Jackets a lead that they were able to sit on for 40 minutes or more. It doesn’t matter that Blake Coleman was +20 in shot share in the game, because the Blue Jackets were more than happy to give up chances, as long as they weren’t good enough to go in the net.

They weathered storms, and just sucked the will out of their opponent until the time went out. What I saw in the third period by the Lightning was not what I’m used to seeing, but it was what I saw last year. They looked lost for hope, stretching for pucks because the will in their feet weren’t keeping up with the pressure to score a goal or two. I saw Nikita Kucherov pass up a golden shot off a rebound for a pass through the blue paint. That can only be because he thinks his team needs a perfect goal to beat the Blue Jackets. If this mentality continues, we all know where it will lead.

Or maybe I’m over exaggerating based on one game. But on the other hand, it took eight periods to beat Columbus the last time and they just employed this tactic and beat the Maple Leafs. It’s so tough. As we get deeper in the series, the only solution is to hope the luck lets you score first. I don’t know what else will work.

Yesterday’s Games

Looking at the rest of the playoffs, I would be so excited to play anyone else apart from Philadelphia, maybe. Yes, even the whining Bruins. Hockey is so much more fun when it’s not against the Blue Jackets.

Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 1 — Series tied 1-1
Matt has the recap for this game, the frustration has set in.

Carolina Hurricanes 3, Boston Bruins 2 — Series tied 1-1
James Reimer and Dougie Hamilton led the way in a big win “on the road.”

Vegas Golden Knights 4, Chicago 3 (OT) — VGK lead 2-0
This game only needed 7:13 of overtime before a winner was found. Lucky. Reilly Smith had the game winner.

Dallas Stars 5, Calgary Flames 4 — Series tied 1-1
I thought Dallas was going to win 4-2 over Calgary when I first wrote this article. By the time I was ready for bed, the Flames tied it. By the time I turned my laptop on, Jamie Oleksiak scored with 40 seconds left in regulation to win the game. Insane finish.

It seems every team has ghosts following them in the shape of a yellow and black bear. Really cool to see James Reimer, the victim of Toronto’s Game 7 collapse, and Dougie Hamilton, their former top draft pick, take them down in this game.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a sweep by Vegas in this round. Chicago did their job, they took out Edmonton. They can go home now.

You know, I genuinely thought Dallas won Game 1 a few days ago. It completely went over my head that Calgary won the first game and now the series is tied after a crazy Game 2. Sneaky best series of the first round?

Today’s Games

Dallas and Calgary will do it all again tonight as they have their schedule back-to-back tonight. Five games on the slate starting with an early game in Edmonton.

Arizona Coyotes “@” Colorado Avalanche — Game 2 (COL lead 1-0)
2pm ET, NHLN, SN360, ALT, FS-A, FS-A+

Montreal Canadiens “@” Philadelphia Flyers — Game 2 (PHI lead 1-0)
3pm ET, NBCSN, CBC, Sportsnet, TVAS, NBCSP

Vancouver Canucks “@” St. Louis Blues — Game 2 (VAN lead 1-0)
6:30pm ET, NHLN, Sportsnet, FS-MW

New York Islanders “@” Washington Capitals — Game 2 (NYI lead 1-0)

Dallas Stars “@” Calgary Flames — Game 3 (series tied 1-1)
10:30pm ET, NBCSN, TVAS, CBC, Sportsnet, FS-SW+

Lightning Links

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien was taken to hospital by ambulance on Thursday with “chest pain.” There’s a low chance he returns to the Habs bench during the First Round. Wishing Claude the best of luck and a full recovery.

Rumors are circulating that the Buffalo Sabres might not qualify or possibly buy out Brandon Montour after a tough first season with the team. I’m sure it’s all his fault. There’s a really capable RD on the market now who is younger than 27 for teams who want him. And I’m sure there are teams who want him.