Never has an NHL team had more reasons to be ashamed. Leaving aside the first period of Game 1, Tampa Bay Lightning, who won 62 games in the regular season, did not show up in their first round against the tremendously understated Columbus Blue Jackets, and they paid the price. While Rayo's biggest stars struggled to impact or actively damage his team's chances of winning, his opponents took the value of brooms from a hardware store and swept Tampa from the postseason. Tonight, Columbus completed perhaps the biggest surprise in the history of the NHL playoffs by winning Game 4, 7-3, to advance to the second round.
The final score is brutal and humiliating, but it does not really explain the true nature of the game. Towards the end of the opening period, for the first time since their 3-0 lead at the start of Game 1, Rayo had something positive happen to them. The Blue Jackets jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes of Game 4, and later in the opening period, they almost made it 3-1 with a goal from Cam Atkinson. But nevertheless, The call was reversed in an offside challenge. because the puck just left the attack area, and that led to a more manageable Tampa Bay hole.
Lightning's head coach, Jon Cooper, who certainly was not the "emotional" one of him and Columbus HC John Tortorella, was mbadively pumped after the goal was rejected. "Here's our bading opportunity!" He said to his players. It seemed like it could be the kick Tampa needed to get out of a funk.
Thanks to a Brayden Point power play goal with two minutes remaining in the second period, their first playoff point, the Bolts tied the game at three and managed to stifle a crowd of Columbus who had come to celebrate the first his team's playoff series. victory.
There is an alternate universe in which the series is activated at this time, and the power of the Lightning to win Game 4, finally makes use of his superior talent and becomes the first team since 2014 to fight a deficit of the series 3-0. That did not happen. Instead, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored less than a minute later to eliminate all Rayo's confidence, and then the Jackets piled into a few empty nets at the end of the third period to seal the discomfort.
While Columbus celebrates an incredible achievement and remains alive in the playoffs, Cooper will have to think about how badly he ran away from his team. Nikita Kucherov, who had the best regular season of his life with 128 points in total, will be able to think about how he ended the playoffs with more suspensions than goals. The Lightning will think about how the first winners of the Presidents' Trophy will be swept in the first round.