Hello, David Savard.
The veteran Blue Jackets defenseman has been a reliable, sturdy presence on the blue line for a while. He's made a living on blocking shots, laying out to cut off passing lanes, dangling past Norris Trophy candidates, and sniping past Vezina candidates — no, those last two aren't typos.
But they're more recent examples, we'll admit.
Savard's defensive game has always been his forte, but in this series he was both an offensive and defensive dynamo. His physical style of play and willingness to lay his body on the line for the team has made him a fan favorite, and it's a big reason why the Blue Jackets are headed to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Let's go game-by-game and showcase how solid the rugged Blue Jackets defenseman was in Columbus' four-game sweep of Tampa Bay.
The Blue Jackets came back from 3-0 down to win an epic one in Tampa and take a 1-0 series lead, and Savard was a big reason why.
Who can forget his ridiculous goal in Game 1 to pull the Blue Jackets within one goal in the third period? Let's watch it again.
David Savard just WALKING Victor Hedman. Sheesh.
— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) April 11, 2019
He dangles Victor Hedman out of his skates, then goes top shelf on Andrei Vasilevskiy. Not bad for your first NHL playoff goal ever, David.
That massive goal wasn't Savard's only contribution of the night. He was third on the team in TOI, with 22:02 — a testament to his level of play. He notched a hit and a blocked shot, and also registered two more shots on goal that didn't find the back of the net.
In Game 2, the Blue Jackets absolutely dominated the Lightning in every facet, winning 5-1. Savard didn't find the scoresheet, despite a shot on goal, but he was a defensive force all night.
Huge, timely penalty kill right there from the Blue Jackets. David Savard stood in there with a huge block on Stamkos. #CBJ
— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) April 13, 2019
He led the team with six(!) blocked shots, and in TOI with 24:33.
The series shifted back to Nationwide Arena for Game 3, and the Blue Jackets brought a 2-0 series lead with them. They made it 3-0, defeating the Lightning 3-1. Savard was no small help in this feat.
— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) April 15, 2019
He notched the third-most TOI, 23:05. He had a shot on goal, five hits, and a total of three blocked shots, including the goal-saving one on Steven Stamkos above.
Savard started just three of his 31 shifts in the offensive zone, 11 in the neutral zone, and 17 in the defensive zone, which is a testament to how solid he has been — and Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella's faith in him.
The Blue Jackets brought out the brooms for Game 4, beating the Lightning 7-3 and sealing the franchise's first series win — and sweep. Unbelievably, it came against the team that many regarded as the Stanley Cup favorite and put up 128 points in the regular season.
How did Savard factor into this? We're glad you asked. He added an assist on Matt Duchene's empty-netter, which made it 7-3, Blue Jackets. Savard led the Blue Jackets in TOI for the second time in four games. He played 26:18 of excellent hockey.
Did we mention he blocks a lot of shots? He also led the team with five blocked shots, and added a hit for good measure.
The Blue Jackets are now on to the second round for the first time in franchise history, so they've sailed into unknown waters. Savard is one of the boys in blue steering the ship.