The Blue Jackets are rolling right now.
Nationwide Arena was electric tonight as the Columbus Blue Jackets returned home for Game 3, already owning a 2-0 series lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blue Jackets dominated early, withstood a heavy Tampa Bay push in the third period, and were able to pocket Game 3 for the first 3-0 series lead in Blue Jackets franchise history.
Matt Duchene started the scoring for the Blue Jackets, and Oliver Bjorkstrand potted a goal on the power play for insurance. After the Lightning scored to make it 2-1 Columbus early in the third period, they threw everything they had at the Blue Jackets, but the boys in blue stood tall. Cam Atkinson scored an empty-net goal late in the third to put the game away, making the final score 3-1, Columbus.
Here are three things that we saw in Game 3.
Duchene Has His Playoff Moment (Again)
Matt Duchene followed up his four-point outing in Game 2 with the opening goal tonight to get the Blue Jackets going. Zach Werenski threw a shot on net, and the rebound came to Duchene, who made no mistake on the backhand finish.
The crafty finish was Duchene's second career playoff goal, and what a big one it was for the Blue Jackets. He's certainly enjoying himself in his first playoff series. We're all as fired up as he is, too.
Bjork Wins It
By now, it's no secret that Oliver Bjorkstrand has one of the best shots in the NHL. He's known for his wrister, but recently, he's developed a deadly slapshot.
We saw this on display during the second period, when he gave the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead on the power play, unleashing a missile that undoubtably almost ripped a hole in the back of the net.
It was a huge goal for the Blue Jackets, as it ended up being the game-winner. Their power play, which was frankly quite poor during the regular season, has been operating at 50% during this series (4-8). What a huge lift it's been, from a unit that's getting hot at exactly the right time.
Get Yer Brooms?
It's uncharted territory for the Columbus Blue Jackets, as they now find themselves up 3-0 on the Tampa Bay Lightning. On Tuesday night in Game 4, they'll have the opportunity to notch their first series win (as well as first sweep) in playoff history against the President's Trophy-winning Lightning.
Folks, you can pinch yourself all you want, but it's true. The Blue Jackets will have all the momentum on their side, but Tampa Bay will be desperate to extend the series and ensure a Game 5 back in Tampa. It'll be a big one on Tuesday night, and that's the understatement of the century.