It has been a record setting season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Most points in franchise history with 128. Most wins in franchise history with 62 and tied with Detroit for the most wins in NHL History with 62.
The Lightning was the number team in the league all season. They were the team to beat. They were on everyones radar.
The Lightning led the league in offense, had the best power play and the number one penalty key. The defense finished in the top five in the league.
The Lightning won the Presidents Trophy awarded to the team with the most points and the best regular season record.
The Lightning had players have career years. Nikita Kucherov had the best season ever by a Russian born player with 128 points and a career best. There were three Lightning players that had over 40 goals, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Braydon Point.
But the Lightning are about to add another record to those already listed. The Lightning trail the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 in their best of seven series with game four scheduled for Tuesday night in Columbus.
Should the Lightning not win that game in Columbus, they would be the first team in NHL history to win the Presidents Trophy and get swept in the first round of the playoffs.
You say there is still hope. This Lightning only lost back to back games once this season. You are correct there is always a chance.
In NHL History there have been four times that a team has trailed in a series 3-0 and then came back to win that series by winning four straight.
In 1942 the Toronto Maple Leafs came from three down to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. Then in 1975, The New York Islanders trailed the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 before mounting a comeback and winning four straight.
Most recently in 2010 the Philadelphia Flyers came from three down to defeat the Boston Bruins 4-3. And in 2014 the Los Angles Kings trailed the San Jose Sharks 3-0 before winning the next four to win the series 4-3 and the eight seeded Las Angeles Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.
So it’s not impossible, but it has only been done four times in the last seventy seven years.
Can the Lightning be the fifth team to do it? Yes they can. They are the most talented team in the league. But there are too many things that have to change and I don’t think the Lightning has enough time to implement those changes.
Jon Cooper has not been known as a coach to make adjustments on the fly or in game adjustments based on what the other team is doing.
The Lightning may win a game or two and make it a competitive series, but the way Columbus has looked the first three games, it looks like golf season will come early this year for the Lightning.
The Presidents Trophy will be the only trophy that this Lightning team earns.
What a shame!