"We got a good lesson in coming out of the first period and playing the way we wanted to play and then you get away from", noted Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. Game 2 in Nashville is Saturday (6 p.m. ET, CNBC).
"I actually thought our biggest foe last night was us", Cooper said Thursday. Tampa Bay is +105 o on the -1.5 puckline, while Columbus is at -125. Our biggest obstacle was us. I just don't see how Columbus can get past this team. "That's what this time of year is about, and we're going to need even more from him if we're going to advance".
The Blue Jackets fell into an early 3-0 hole in the first period against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Lightning.
Midway through the third period, the house started to collapse for Tampa Bay when the Blue Jackets' David Savard cut the lead to 3-2 on a turnover in the Lightning zone as he went unassisted at 7:56. If they can hold the Capitals to under 30 shots on goal per game and get some good goaltending from whoever starts, they might have a chance to make it to the next round.
John Tortorella has always been a guy who calls it like he sees it, and in this case, he called it like he smelled it. If there's one team that will figure it out and bounce back, it's the Lightning. "We've been doing the same thing for years; nothing changes". But I'm very comfortable that they can handle a lot different things. They just go to another level. Their penalty kill is also first in the league at 85 percent and they're also first in goals per game, averaging 3.89. "We know it's a long series". Then you have Reilly Smith, Alex Tuch, Paul Stastny, Cody Eakin and Max Pacioretty, all great players. Coach Gerard Gallant said he wasn't anxious about his team's subpar performance to end the season that saw them only winning one of their final eight games.
NOTES: Tampa Bay outscored Columbus 17-3 in sweeping all three games between the teams in the regular season.
Kucherov was the league MVP this season, smashing records as he went.
Holding onto leads was a problem all season for Winnipeg so maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise it happened again in the playoff opener for the Jets.
The Blue Jackets are 6-0 in their last 6 road games, 1-4 in their last 5 Conference Quarterfinals games and 6-1 in their last 7 vs. The Jets were tied with Florida for the most losses in the regular season when leading after two periods with nine. RPM Tech enables explosive-edge skating, giving players more control, faster acceleration and more responsiveness as they move up and down the ice. It does that, plus it pits together some well-matched foes, like Boston-Toronto, San Jose-Vegas and Winnipeg-St. "Just the grind of the game". The Columbus Blue Jackets have allowed three or less goals in 10 of their last 13 games.
Just more than a minute after Kuhnhackl's opening-minute goal was overturned, Eberle did give the Islanders the lead as he stopped a deflection of Pelech's shot, turned and beat Murray through the five-hole from the right side for his first career postseason goal at 1:40.
I understand why some people might think Carolina can get past Washington.
Wednesday night in Amalie Arena, there was a healthy reminder as the Columbus Blue Jackets scored three goals in the third period to battle back from a 3-0 deficit at the end of the first period to topple the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.
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