Embed from Getty Images It was a dream come true for long suffering fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team swept the might Tampa Bay Lightning in round one of the playoffs. Round two saw the Jackets matched up against the Boston Bruins. The Blue Jackets lost the series.
There is a lot to unpack here. Let’s start with the goalies, Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Blue Jackets Sergei Bobrovsky two heavyweight goal tenders going head to head. Bobrovksy finished the series with a .921 save percentage and should not be catching too much blame, even if he recorded a .901 save percentage over the final three games. Meanwhile, Rask had a vary strong finish to the series, compiling a .948 save percentage over the six games. He had a shutout performance in Game 6 and it should be noted that he deserved a shutout in Game 4 as well .
Boston kept firing the puck at the Columbus until they broke through. Columbus looked lost at times in the offensive end of the ice leading to bad shots and not grabbing enough rebounds to keep pace with the Bruins.
The Columbus Blue Jackets did an excellent job of shutting down Boston’s stars through the first half of the series and it was the biggest reason why Columbus was able to jump out to a 2-1 lead. The series started to shift when Pastrnak scored two huge goals in a pivotal Game 5. Boston’s stars heated up. Columbus’ stars cooled off.
Over the final three games, the Blue Jackets managed just one goal from the collection of Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nick Folignoup front. The lone goal came from Panarin in Game 4. The three previous games saw a handful of guys who accounted for five goals and were a big reason why Columbus claimed a series lead.
Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella guaranteed the series was going to go seven games. Boston seemed driven to make the coach eat crow. So once again, Columbus Blue Jackets fans stood and cheered their team after the game six loss.
Perhaps, when fans stop cheering losses, the team will respond with more wins.