The Lightning's Stanley Cup-clinching victory tonight added to a rather interesting fact for the Columbus Blue Jackets:
In the last four postseasons, the Blue Jackets have been eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions in three of them. In the outlier, they were eliminated by the Bruins in 2019, who went on to fall in the Stanley Cup Final.
It all began in 2017, when the banged-up Blue Jackets fell to the Penguins in five games. The Penguins would go on to take out the Capitals, the Senators, and then finally the Predators to win the Stanley Cup.
Then, in 2018, the Blue Jackets took a 2-0 lead on the Capitals that was short-lived. The Capitals stormed back and won four straight to eliminate the Blue Jackets in six games. After they dispatched the Blue Jackets, the Capitals eliminated the Penguins, the Lightning, and the Golden Knights to clinch the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
Finally, in 2020, the Lightning defeated the Blue Jackets, who made it to the first round after defeating the Maple Leafs in an exciting Qualifying Round matchup. The Lightning's buzzsaw then ran through the Bruins, the Islanders, and the Stars as they won their second Stanley Cup in franchise history.
You can look at this one of two ways. While no one likes to lose, it's clear that they've lost to the best. On the flip side of the coin, you can look at these series that the Blue Jackets have lost and rue the missed opportunities, like the 2-0 lead against Washington, or the historical five-overtime Game 1 against Tampa Bay.
The Blue Jackets used to be the franchise that was on the outside looking in when it came to making the playoffs and playing the best teams, but now they're getting that opportunity practically every year. They just haven't been able to put everything together yet.