By advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Columbus Blue Jackets have now been eliminated by the past four Eastern Conference champions.
This is the fourth straight year the Eastern Conference champion has needed to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets first.— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) September 18, 2020
Two of the past three won it all (Penguins, Capitals) and the Bruins lost in seven games to the Blues last year.#CBJ
The Lightning can become the third of those four teams to ultimately hoist the Stanley Cup. Here's a recap of how we got here:
The Blue Jackets were defeated in the first round in five games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second straight season.
Zach Werenski got hit in the face with a hockey puck but the referees decided it wasn't a big deal. Seconds later, the Penguins scored. Werenski was given 18 stitches, a broken orbital bone, and a broken sinus cavity.
The Blue Jackets were knocked off in six games by the Washington Capitals, who eventually hoisted the Stanley Cup for their first championship in franchise history.
This series is particularly painful to look back on, as the Blue Jackets were a goal-post in OT away from going up 3-0 on the Capitals. Instead, a fluke bounce off of Lars Eller in 2OT gave the Capitals life, and Washington went on to win the next three games to eliminate the Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, their first trip out of the first round of the playoffs. The Bruins went on to play for the Stanley Cup before losing at home in Game 7 to the St. Louis Blues.
In the pivotal game 6, Charlie McAvoy delivered a hit to the head of Josh Anderson and was (hilariously?) (somehow?) given only a two-minute penalty. After the fact, he was given a one-game suspension, where he sat out Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bruins swept the Hurricanes.
The Blue Jackets were knocked off by the Tampa Bay Lightning, a year after sweeping the President's Trophy winners.
The Lightning won Game 1 in a 5OT thriller. It's hard to say that this shifted momentum, as the Blue Jackets rebounded to win Game 2, but it's easy to imagine the Lightning folding, perplexed by their inability to beat the Blue Jackets. Instead, they went on to win Games 3-5 and are now playing for the Stanley Cup.