What a year.
A year of ups and downs came to a close on Wednesday afternoon in Round One Game 5. The Columbus Blue Jackets trailed by two, then tied it, then led by two, then blew their lead, then finally lost in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-4.
In doing so, the Blue Jackets were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round for the fifth time in their franchise's history.
Early on in Game 5, it was all Lightning. Goals by Tyler Johnson and Blake Coleman gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead just eight minutes into the game.
But if there's any team in the league this year that knows how to fight against adversity, it's the Columbus Blue Jackets. With just over eight minutes remaining in the period, Nick Foligno scored his second of the playoffs just after a power play expired to cut the Lightning lead to one.
From there, our boys in blue began to take over, and the Lightning became as undisciplined as ever. Kevin Stenlund, after being a Game 4 call-up, scored his first career postseason goal on the power play halfway through the second frame. By this point, the Blue Jackets had already drawn four penalties on their opponent.
To cap off an excellent period, one in which the Blue Jackets broke their club's single-period shot count (24), Alexander Wennberg tallied his third goal of these playoffs with a slick one-timer in the slot with just 16 remaining.
Patrick Maroon then immediately took a roughing penalty before the period ended, adding to the reckless nature in which Tampa Bay had been playing with the whole afternoon. Though the Blue Jackets didn't capitalize on the ensuing man-advantage, it was clear the Lightning were losing their cool.
The third period started off in the Blue Jackets' favor again, seeing an Oliver Bjorkstrand goal followed by another Lightning penalty. With ten minutes remaining, it looked like Columbus was ready for Game 6.
But of course, if the Qualifying Round series taught us anything, it's that it's never over till it's over. The Lightning scored with eight minutes left the final frame, and then again off of a skate deflection with 1:38 remaining to knot the game at four apiece.
Overtime again, we went.
In the extra time, Brayden Point was the hero, scoring at the five-minute mark to seal the victory for his Lightning and send the Blue Jackets packing. Though it was a five-game outing, Columbus battled hard in a tight series against Tampa Bay, who is likely to be a Stanley Cup favorite next to the Colorado Avalanche.
The 2020-2021 NHL season is set to kick off in late December of this year, with the Blue Jackets' draft number being declared in the next few weeks.
We wanted nearly fourth months for hockey to resume, we can do four more, right?
- The Blue Jackets’ season came to an end with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Lightning in Game 5.
- CBJ scored four goals in a game for the second time in the 2020 postseason (4-3 OT win in Game 3 vs. Toronto on August 6). The club went 17–2–0 when scoring four or more goals in a game during the regular season.
- Each of the last three games and four of the five in the series were decided by a single goal. Each of Tampa Bay’s four victories was by one goal.
- Four of the Jackets’ 10 games played in the playoffs were decided in overtime, including the opening and closing games of the series against the Lightning. CBJ finished 1-3 in overtime in the 2020 playoffs.
- The Blue Jackets scored two second period goals, marking the fourth time in the series the club scored a second period goal (5 goals).
- The Blue Jackets outshot the Lightning 24-8 in the second period. The 24 shots set a new franchise playoff record for most shots in a single period, surpassing the 19 shots recorded in the 3rd period on Apr. 20, 2017 at Pittsburgh.
- Columbus led heading into the third period for the third time in the series and the first time since Game 2 (3-1 win).
- C Kevin Stenlund became the 14th Blue Jacket to score a goal in the 2020 playoffs. The club trailed only Vegas (16) for most players with a goal in the 2020 postseason.
- LW NICK FOLIGNO (2-4-6 in 10 GP) notched the third multi-point effort of his NHL postseason career and first of the 2020 playoffs with a goal and an assist in Game 5. He had 1-2-3 in the last four contests against the Lightning.
- RW CAM ATKINSON (3-5-8 in 8 GP) notched his third multi-point effort of the 2020 playoffs with assists on the Blue Jackets’ first two goals of the game. It was the seventh multi-point effort of his playoffs career. He registered points in back-to-back games (1-2-3).
- C ALEXANDER WENNBERG (3-2-5 in 10 GP) collected the first multi-point effort of his playoffs career after notching 1-1-2 in Game 5. He had 2-2-4 in the last four games.
- C KEVIN STENLUND notched his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs goal in his second career postseason game with the second-period tally.
- D SETH JONES collected his second assist of the Tampa Bay series and finished with 1-3-4 in 10 postseason contests.
- RW OLIVER BJORKSTRAND notched his third goal/point of the series with a third-period tally.
- V VLADISLAV GAVRIKOV (1-2-3 in 10 GP) collected the first multi-point effort of his NHL career with his first two Stanley Cup Playoffs assists.
- C PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS collected his team-leading sixth assist and 10th point of the postseason. The six assists were tied for the most in a single postseason (Panarin, Jones, and Atkinson in 2019) while the 10 points were tied for second-most (Duchene, 2019), one shy of the record (Panarin, 2019).