Columbus Blue Jackets fans are ready to break out the brooms...only it'll have to be metaphorically and not literally.
In the last decade, Toronto has been unable to overcome Boston in the first round twice - once in 2013 and again last season, falling in seven games in both series.
That's because Nationwide Arena is banning spectators attending Tuesday's Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning from bringing brooms into the building to commemorate what will be a series sweep if they can emerge victorious.More news: Malaysia to free woman accused of Kim Jong Nam murder
Get Blue Jackets, Lightning gear at Fanatics, Lids, Dick's Sporting Goods and NHL.com. Fellow defenceman Anton Stralman (lower-body injury) is also out while forward Alex Killorn (undisclosed) is a game-time decision. Then Steven Stamkos finally chose to show up to the series, and the Lightning managed to finally add some pressure.
On the second goal, the original sin was a missed pass from McDonagh to Cernak below the goal line after the won faceoff. Of their 62 wins, 30 were by a margin of three or more goals, which was tied for the most since 1992-93.
NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May said prior to Game 3 that the play was risky and should be one that's kept out of the league, and therefore, the punishment should have been more severe. It's about as unlikely a result as you could possibly imagine. Regardless of how you look at it, though, the Lightning - once discussed as potentially becoming one of the greatest National Hockey League teams ever - is out of the playoffs after just four games. John Tortorella has never been known for his subtlety. Bobrovsky won this matchup and it wasn't particularly close, summing up the tenor of the series. Artemi Panarin has recorded four goals and 10 assists over the last 10 games for Columbus. Their goal differential was in the triple digits: +103. The Penguins wouldn't go without a fight, at least not Patric Hornqvist who made a decision to trade jabs with red-hot goalie Robin Lehner. The Blue Jackets barely snuck into the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, finishing just two points clear of the Montreal Canadiens.More news: Apple and Qualcomm Settle Sweeping Patent Suits
Other than perhaps the play of the two goalies (and especially Robin Lehner in the Islanders' net), that line was probably the difference in the series. Kyle Connor had a pair of goals for Winnipeg in the victory, with Kevin Hayes, Patrik Laine, Brandon Tanev, and Dustin Byfuglien also finding the back of the net. The first two periods were scoreless, but Vladimir Tarasenko struck quickly to start the third, scoring 35 seconds into the frame with the Blues on the power play. "That was it. It had been with us all year, and for six days in April we couldn't find it". In 2015, no one expected us to go anywhere, and we went far, with the same core of players. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was magnificent in the third period as Tampa mounted a futile comback. Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his 15th career playoff shutout and the Golden Knights head back to the Shark Tank a win away from the second round. Kadri was given a major penalty on the play and ejected.
Although he faced a much larger volume of shots throughout the series, Bobrovsky posted a sparkling.931 save percentage and completely suppressed Tampa Bay's league-best attack, making it almost impossible for his opponent to mount a comeback in the latter three games.
The Lightning have been outscored 12-2 since taking an early 3-0 advantage in Game 1 and Pittsburgh has led for all of 3:17 through nine-plus periods against the Islanders.More news: Black Hole image ran through de-blurring software has focus
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