Embed from Getty Images Overwhelming favorites to win the Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning look completely lost and over matched against the Columbus Blue Jackets. How did this happen? A closer looks shows us what has happened.
The Tampa Bay Lightning winners of 62 regular season games and 128 points in route to the Presidents Trophy, were heavily favored over the Blue Jackets. However, the Columbus Blue Jackets have shown they should not be treated lightly.
Game one of the playoffs saw the Lightning jump out to a 3-0 lead. Then the bottom dropped out. The Blue Jackets stunned Tampa and came back and won. Game two saw Columbus put the pedal to the metal and cruse to a 5-1 win and a 2-0 series lead.
David vs Goliath, Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson pick your analogy. Columbus fought and barley made the playoffs. That does not matter. Tampa has looked like the 8th seed.
The Lightning star players have gone silent. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point finished the season with 40 goals each and a combined 318 points! Through two games they have zero goals and zero assists. Kutcherov and Point are -2 and Stamkos is -3. No hockey fan or writer saw that coming.
Heading back to Columbus, Kucherov has been suspended 1 game for a bad hit to the Blue Jackets, Markus Nutivaara. Dealing the Stanley Cup favorites what could be a death blow.
Another reason Columbus has taken control is they have been more physical than Tampa Bay. Blue Jackets defenders have punished Lightning offensive players. Columbus has been dominant on the forecheck knocking the Lightning off their game.
Sergei Bobrovsky has been unreal. After a shaky start to game one. Bobrovsky has looked like the two time Vezina Trophy winner. Since giving up 3 game one goals, Sergei Bobrovsky has stopped 40 of 41 shots. Proving his elite status and when he is on Bob is a game-changer.
What has set Columbus apart is they are getting scoring from all over the place. Tampa Bay has had no answers for the speed Columbus has. It has been a full Blue Jackets effort.
The Lightning had the top ranked power play and penalty kill during the regular season. Yet, Columbus is 3 for 6 with a man advantage and are a perfect 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.
The Lightning are in trouble leading head coach Jon Cooper to say his team is in “a five-alarm fire.”