Sergei Bobrovsky has the Columbus Blue Jackets on the point of sweeping a playoff collection that hardly anybody thought they may win.
The Russian goalie shut the door when the Tampa Bay Lightning made a determined late surge on Sunday evening, preserving a 3-1 win and giving Columbus a 3-Zero lead within the best-of-seven Japanese Convention quarterfinal towards the NHL’s greatest group.
The Blue Jackets will attempt to end the sweep — and win a playoff collection for the primary time in franchise historical past — in Sport Four at residence on Tuesday evening.
Matt Duchene, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson scored, and Bobrovsky completed with 30 saves , 16 of them within the last interval.
“You aren’t getting to this time of 12 months with no actually good goalie to get in, and you do not win playoff video games with out your goalie, so I believed he stood actually huge in these 10, 12 minutes there the place they turned it up,” Columbus coach John Tortorella mentioned. “Bob does not say something. He simply goes about his enterprise. The best way he prepares is second to none. We’ll want him, as a result of there’s going to be one other push in Sport 4.”
With out their high scorer, the suspended Nikita Kucherov, and injured defenseman Victor Hedman, the Lightning, who completed with a league-best 62 wins, could not discover any momentum till late, after which Bobrovsky rose to the problem.
Columbus has commanded the collection since falling behind 3-Zero within the opening interval of Sport 1, solely to rally to win that one 4-3. The Blue Jackets pummeled the Lightning 5-1 in Sport 2, and solidly outplayed them for a lot of the recreation Sunday.
“The job’s not accomplished, however on the identical time that is enjoyable,” Duchene mentioned. “This has been unbelievable, and we need to end the job and go away little doubt. Clearly, we’ve an incredible alternative Tuesday at residence in entrance of our followers. I believe these followers deserve that we get the job accomplished right here at residence.”
The evening was satisfying for Bobrovsky — he hasn’t been nice within the playoffs the final two seasons — and the Blue Jackets, who have been 2-Eight at Nationwide Area in three earlier postseason appearances. They’re the one NHL group that hasn’t gained a playoff collection.
“We do not have to overthink, we simply need to take pleasure in tonight and put together for an additional work get-together, work for one another and, yup, let’s examine what is going on to occur,” Bobrovsky mentioned.
Ondrej Palat scored within the third interval and Andre Vasilevskiy had 27 saves for the Lightning, who’re going through an sudden fast elimination.
Groups have come again from 3-Zero deficit to win a playoff collection on simply 4 earlier events. The final time was in 2014, when the Los Angeles Kings dug out of the outlet within the opening collection towards San Jose and ultimately gained the Stanley Cup.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper took some solace in his group lastly exhibiting indicators of getting its swagger again.
“So far as I do know, we’re enjoying Tuesday, so have been nonetheless alive,” he mentioned.
After a scoreless first interval, the Blue Jackets struck 1:44 into the second when Duchene was in the best place to attain off a rebound . Bjorkstrand went over Vasilevskiy’s head on an influence play for a 2-Zero Columbus lead at 8:25, with rookie Alexandre Texier selecting up his first NHL help.
Tampa Bay obtained on the board with Palat’s aim within the third, however could not muster any extra. Atkinson linked on an empty-netter with a minute left within the recreation.
NOTES: Kucherov was suspended for boarding Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara in Sport 2 on Friday. Nutivaara was out with an upper-body harm Sunday…. Columbus signed D Vladislav Gavrikov on Saturday however he is not cleared to play but as a result of his visa is pending. … The Lightning’s three pictures within the first interval have been the fewest allowed in a interval by the Blue Jackets in a house playoff recreation. … The Blue Jackets final gained a house playoff recreation on April 18, 2017. … Columbus has scored 4 power-play objectives within the collection.
UP NEXT: Sport Four on Tuesday in Columbus.