The Columbus Blue Jackets capped a stunning sweep of the Presidents Trophy winners with a 7-3 victory on Tuesday night in Ohio.
No matter what happens next, whether the Columbus Blue Jackets continue bushwhacking through the rest of these Stanley Cup playoffs or bow out quietly next round, GM Jarmo Kekalainen's steel-bellied decision to double down on rentals around the trade deadline has already paid off in spades.
"We can't get those games back at once", Crosby said.
The Islanders weathered Pittsburgh's early push and went ahead with 1:54 to go in the first period when Nelson slipped behind Penguins forward Garrett Wilson and darted to the net. Sullivan, who has lost just once in 10 previous playoff series in Pittsburgh, planned to use the down time to catch up on "Game of Thrones". They've won the Stanley Cup eight times in that same span and at least made the Finals 12 times. Two years removed from consecutive championships, the Penguins would seem to be at a crossroads.
If you've never heard of the Columbus Blue Jackets, you're definitely not alone. Whether they can find takers for veterans with their names on the Cup multiple times but also multiple years left on lucrative contracts will play a factor. Instead, they were shut down, and shut out, in a 4-0 series sweep by the Islanders.
Before the Canucks' 5-game loss to the Kings, who went on to win the Stanley Cup, no Presidents' Trophy victor had ever lost in the first round in five games. But when you have expectations like the Tampa Bay Lightning did, the only way to take the narrative is in the pits of pessimism and frustration, an area the Montreal Canadiens are all too familiar with. The Blue Jackets' final three goals came late in the period after the Lightning had pulled goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extra skater. Simply stated, Tampa Bay did an bad job of not imposing their will as far as the tempo is concerned and hey got their brains beat in as a result.
Still, Lehner blanches at the idea that the Islanders - who have just one postseason series win since 1993 - are close to pulling off some kind of upset.
Aside from some concerns about their underlying analytics - they were 9th in corsi, 8th in expected goals, and 11th in scoring chances - the Lightning were overwhelming favourites to win the Stanley Cup. They went 15 and 1 in the regular season and then lost to the New York Giants in the first round of the National Football League playoffs.
But is it really that surprising? Not once in his career had he guided a team beyond the first round, and it was most certainly fair to put some of that blame on Bobrovsky, who sported an.891 save percentage in 24 career playoff appearances entering a matchup with the NHL's top team.
"To win in the playoffs, you can't be a high-risk team", he said.
But, is it a good thing for the Rangers if the Blue Jackets embark on a deep run in the postseason?
Only four teams have ever climbed out of an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, the last by the Los Angeles Kings against the San Jose Sharks in the 2014 Western Conference quarterfinals. The Capitals had won it three times since 2010, so they knew to keep a safe distance from what's a nice achievement on its own but toxic when it comes to winning the sport's ultimate prize.
It isn't a fluke that Columbus is moving on to the second round. With puck pressure and a suffocating forecheck, Columbus forced turnovers - not a ideal science, but the National Hockey League credited the Lightning with 36 giveaways in the series - and the underlying numbers support the assertion that the Blue Jackets controlled play for long stretches.