There are no words. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Ryan Callahan, no one had much to say after making history and being the first Presidents Trophy winner to get swept in the first round.
This will go down as the biggest upset in sports history. Never in the history of sports has a team put up the kind of numbers this team did, and been so dominant during the regular season and then exited the playoffs without so much as a whimper.
Remember, this Lightning team set a record by tying Detroit for the most wins in a season with 62.
There were a number of reason the Lightning lost this series. First and foremost, they had absolutely no answers for what the Blue Jackets and John Tortorella did to slow them down.
Jon Cooper was out coached by a Stanley Cup wining coach in John Tortorella. Columbus took away everything that the Lightning had done so well during the regular season.
The Lightning had the best special teams during the season. Number one power play and were one of the best on the penalty kill. The Lightning allowed six power play goals in the series and allowed two short handed goals.
Columbus also eliminated the speed of the Lightning through the neutral zone and when the Lightning could not get the puck in the offensive zone after Columbus had taken the lead they could just dump the puck and chase it.
John Tortorella and his staff came up with the best game plan to slow down the Lightning, and Columbus executed it to perfection.
Columbus was also quick to make adjustment. It didn’t matter if it was a shift to shift adjustment that was needed, or between periods, if an adjustment was needed the Blue Jackets made them.
Jon Cooper and the Lightning made zero adjustments and now are on the couch watching the rest of the playoffs.
Injuries also played a part as Victor Hedman missed games three and four. it was obvious in games one and two that Hedman was not 100 percent but give him credit for giving it a go.
Anton Stralman was not available for any of the games in the series and I am sure that we will get an update on his status tomorrow when the Lightning players and management meet with the media one last time.
I think we also determined that Jan Rutta is more of a liability than an asset. I have no clue as to why Rutta would get the nod over Braydon Coburn to start games one and two when Coburn has a ton of playoff experience.
The leaders of the team Stamkos, Kucherov, and Point were missing in action the whole series and were only able to put up five points combined in the series, and those points all came in the second period of game 4. That can’t happen if you want to have a deep playoff run.
The officiating was horrendous the whole series and all the clutching, grabbing and hooking with no calls also took the Lightning off their game. The NHL would want you to believe that a penalty in October is a penalty in April. That is just not the case. A lot of non calls in this series.
The Lightning are just not big enough and tough enough for a long playoff run. They are a skill and finesse team which works great during the regular season, but when you need some grit and physical play and some grinders to get through some long playoff series, the Lightning really don’t have those kind of players.
It will be a long summer in Tampa. But you get what you deserve. And the way the Lightning played in this series they didn’t deserve to win.