Tampa Bay Lightning’s Unexpected Loss

The Lightning were the heavy favorites, but exited in the first round.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were awarded the President’s Trophy this season, given to the team with the most points at the end of the season. The points are comprised of a team’s total amounts of wins, OT appearances, and losses. The Lightning held the top record with 62 wins, 16 losses, and 17 OT results with only 4 losses.

The team was on pace to set the most wins in a season record with 63, but they, unfortunately, ended up just short with a loss of 4-2 to the Montreal Canadians just three games before the end of the season. The last team to achieve this feat were the 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings who were regarded as one of the most dominant teams, yet couldn’t win the Stanley Cup.

Similar to the Red Wings, Tampa Bay didn’t make it to the finals, but even worse, they were swept in the first round by an 8th seed. Losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a best out of seven series. Not only were the Jackets at a disadvantage in skill among many other things. they also lacked a home-ice advantage.

Columbus barely made the playoffs with only 47 wins, 31 losses, and 13 OT showing with 10 wins in extra time. Finishing 5th in the Metropolitan League, they made it to the playoffs with the wild card. They had 258 goals for (12th out of 31) and 232 against (11th out of 31) while Tampa Bay had 325 for (1st out of 31) and 222 against (5th out of 31).

Tampa Bay’s total points, the highest in the league, were 128 while Columbus’s was only 98. The Blue Jackets do have them beat in one statistic, with the highest power-play scoring percentage in the league.

Tampa also had the best NHL player this season in Nikita Kucherov. He posted 128 points (1st in league) with 41 goals, 87 assists (1st in league), and a plus 24 plus-minus. They also have Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos, Point had 20 power-play goals (1st in league) and a plus 27 plus-minus while Stamkos had 98 points.

The Blue Jackets’ best player, Artemi Panarin, only had 87 points with 28 goals, 59 assists, and a plus 14 plus-minus. His fellow teammates, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene both shined this season. Sergei is regarded as one of the best goalies with 9 shutouts (1st in league) and 37 wins which places second out of all goalies, and Matt Duchene had 70 points with 31 goals and 39 assists.

The games in the series were 4-3 Columbus, 5-1 Columbus, 3-1 Columbus, and finally 7-3 Columbus to finish the series.

The Blue Jackets overcame all odds and made history for the first time ever as a 1st seed was swept in the first round, but it is also the first year both 1st seeds made a first-round exit.  Calgary, the #1 seed on the western side of the bracket, lost to 8th seed, Colorado.