Tag Archives: Lightning

Senators acquire Coburn, Paquette, draft pick from Lightning

The Ottawa Senators have acquired defenceman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette and a 2022 second-round draft pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Marian Gaborik and goaltender Anders Nilsson.

The deal was announced Sunday night.

Ottawa has added two veteran players for now and potentially one for the future in return for two skaters not expected to dress this season, while the Lightning get some assistance towards their salary cap situation.

Both Gaborik and Nilsson, combined for an annual average cap hit just over $ 7 million US for 2021-22, will be placed on long-term injury reserve and will not play this season, according to a release by Tampa Bay.

The 35-year-old Coburn, from Shaunavon, Sask., has played 964 career NHL games with Atlanta, the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay since breaking into the league with the Thrashers in the 2005-06 season, and has scored 49 goals and 232 points. He is in the final season of a two-year deal with a $ 1.7 million average.

The 27-year-old Paquette, from Gaspe, Que., has plays 377 NHL games — all with Tampa Bay — and has recorded 47 goals and 85 points . He is set to make $ 1.65 million in the final season of a two-year contract.

Gaborik underwent back surgery in April 2018 and hasn’t played since. He is entering the final year of a seven-year deal worth $ 4.875 million per season.

Nilsson went down with a concussion in Dec. 2019 and has not returned to game action. He’s owed $ 2.6 this season, his last of a two-year deal.

Sens acquire Derek Stepan from Coyotes

On Saturday, the Senators acquired centre Derek Stepan from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a second-round draft pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Stepan, 30, scored 10 goals and 28 points in 70 games last season with the Coyotes. The Minnesota native added a goal and four assists in nine games in the playoffs.

He spent the last three seasons in Arizona after being traded from the New York Rangers in 2017. Stepan has played 739 career NHL games, having amassed 167 goals and 312 assists in that span.

The 2021 second-round pick originally belonged to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus traded the pick to Ottawa along with a 2020 second-round pick and Anthony Duclair in exchange for Ryan Dzingel and a 2019 seventh-round draft choice.

Ottawa signs 3rd-overall pick Tim Stuetzle 

Also on Sunday, Ottawa signed forward Tim Stuetzle to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The Sens selected the 18-year-old native of Viersen, Germany with the third overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

“Tim possesses an exceptional blend of both speed and skill and a playmaking ability that our fans are going to enjoy watching for several years to come,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a release. “He’s a dynamic forward who we expect to become a key piece of our roster as we continue trending towards icing an eventual elite-level team.”

Stuetzle had 34 points in 41 games for the Mannheim Eagles in Germany’s top pro league last season.

The six-foot-one 187-pound forward is serving as Germany’s captain at the 2021 world junior hockey championship in Edmonton.

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CBC | Sports News

Leafs lick their wounds after ‘unacceptable’ loss to Lightning

Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock gathered his players at Toronto’s practice facility Friday morning.

That part shouldn’t come as a surprise — teams usually meet before hitting the ice to break down video, go over special teams or talk about an upcoming opponent.

This particular conversation, however, had a different feel following an embarrassing 7-3 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning roughly 12 hours earlier where a lot went wrong, and not much went right.

“It’s just like a family discussion. It’s just honest,” Babcock said when asked about the tone of the meeting. “The reality is we weren’t good enough. There’s nowhere to hide here. Like any good family, that’s what it’s like.

“You keep each other accountable.”

WATCH | Leafs suffer ‘unacceptable’ loss to Lightning:

Tampa Bay’s top line records 11 points in 7-3 victory over Toronto. 1:41

Having all of a sudden dropped three straight home games, including the last two in regulation, Toronto (2-2-1) will look to get back on track Saturday in Detroit against the Red Wings (3-1-0).

But no matter the opponent, the Leafs will need to be better across the board following an effort that left much to be desired and had some fans streaming to the exits at Scotiabank Arena with 13 minutes remaining in the third period.

“Our meeting was more important than our practice,” Babcock said following a brisk 30-minute session. “We didn’t have enough detail, didn’t have enough battle, didn’t have enough work. Any way you look at it, they outplayed us. They were quicker, they won more races, they won more battles, they looked like they had more structure.

“That’s unacceptable. We have to fix that.”

Toronto captain John Tavares, whose first goal of the season was one of Thursday’s lone positives, called the loss that saw his team give up two power-goals on three chances and surrender 11 points to Tampa’s top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point a “learning experience.”

“You want to continue to have a pulse on things,” Tavares said of his approach to the first mini crisis as the Leafs’ outright locker-room leader. “We want to nip a game like [Thursday] in the bud and move forward. We haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted over the last three games.

“It’s not our standard or our expectation.”

‘Bound to be some duds,’ says Morgan Rielly 

Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly, who was victimized on Tampa’s third goal in a wild first period that saw the visitors come out with a 4-3 lead, said there are bound to be some duds in an 82-game schedule.

“It’s about how you respond to that, how you react, and how you adjust and limit those [performances],” he said. “You have to deal with the fact mistakes are going to happen, things aren’t always going to go your way.”

The Leafs blew a 4-1 lead before losing 6-5 in a shootout to the Montreal Canadiens last Saturday, but felt good about their game in Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.

Those vibes didn’t continue against last season’s Presidents’ Trophy winners, who came in on a two-game slide of their own.

“Any time you play like we did, the first thing is the coach didn’t do his job,” Babcock said. “We’re up 2-1 with eight minutes left in the first period, but we didn’t stay playing, we got rattled, we didn’t keep digging in.”

Can’t get by on talent alone

Leafs blue-liner Cody Ceci said Thursday showed that talent doesn’t mean much if a team isn’t willing to work.

“We can’t skill our way through every single game,” Leafs blue-liner Cody Ceci added. “There’s other teams that are just as skilled as us. If they work harder than us, they’re going to win.

“A bit of a wake-up call … it’s good to have it this early.”

Toronto winger Kasperi Kapanen, who has struggled at times to find chemistry on a line with Tavares and Mitch Marner in place of the injured Zach Hyman, said it’s important to push forward.

“We just weren’t at our best,” he said. “A bad game that we’ve got to learn from and at the same time forget.”

The Leafs didn’t suffer a three-game drought until Feb. 21 last season, and know their attention to detail — especially in the defensive zone — needs to be a lot better after getting badly exposed against Tampa.

“There were definitely points where they outworked us, and that’s unacceptable,” Rielly said. “And then there were points where we just didn’t execute and were working hard — we wanted it, but we just couldn’t execute.

“That’s not a game you look back at fondly.”

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CBC | Sports News

Are the Blues for real? Can the Flames, Lightning forget? Key questions for new NHL season

The 2019-20 NHL season is upon us and all 31 teams have a clean sheet before them.

The puck drops Wednesday night and from there the story of another season will be written by the players themselves.

Here are some burning questions we have leading up to the opening faceoff:

Can the St. Louis Blues pull off the repeat?

With Gloria as their anthem, the Blues authored a fairytale comeback in the last spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Sitting in last place in January, with career minor-leaguer Jordan Binnington between the pipes, the Blues clinched a playoff berth on March 29 and went on to hoist Lord Stanley’s chalice for the first time in franchise history.

Going back-to-back has become a rarity given the modern-day salary cap and free agency — the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team to defend their title in the last 21 years. But the Blues believe they can do it with a roster that is mostly intact and includes the addition of puck-moving defenceman Justin Faulk in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes.

What will become of the first-round flameouts?

It’s still difficult to fathom how both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Calgary Flames failed to advance beyond the first round. After all, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and the President’s Trophy winners filled the net with 325 goals last season, the highest total of any team in two decades. The Flames, meanwhile, topped the Western Conference and looked poised to go far, led by the steadfast Mark Giordano on defence and Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan up front.

But all that regular-season success meant nothing as Columbus swept Tampa in four, and Colorado dispatched Calgary in five, leaving both teams to wonder what the heck went wrong.

Johnny Gaudreau, centre, and the Calgary Flames will have to forget last spring’s first-round playoff loss to Colorado. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

With the post-mortems complete, restricted free agent Brayden Point is back in Tampa. Master agitator Matthew Tkachuk re-signed after a prolonged negotiation in Calgary. And both teams have the pieces in place to make another run, although they’ll ultimately be judged on their performance in April and beyond.

What needs to happen for the Edmonton Oilers to make the playoffs?

If anyone can single-handedly drag his team into the post-season, it’s Connor McDavid. But even the top offensive talent in the game needs help along the way, and it’s difficult to see the supporting cast providing enough of a push in the NHL’s northernmost outpost. Top priority is improving the dismal penalty kill (29th in the league last season at 74.8 per cent) followed by increased production from the bottom six forwards. Then there’s goaltending, with 37-year-old Mike Smith pushing the inconsistent Mikko Koskinen. If all the stars align, the playoffs are a possibility in Edmonton, but it’s a stretch.

WATCH | Rob Pizzo breaks down all 7 Canadian teams:

Rob Pizzo looks at which teams have the best chance to win Canada’s first Stanley Cup since 1993. 3:43

Who will claim the Calder Trophy?

This crop of rookies is bountiful, and the top-flight youngsters are expected to make an immediate impact this season. The early favourite is swift-skating defenceman Cale Makar, who has an edge after appearing in 10 playoff games for the Colorado Avalanche, collecting six points. In New Jersey, centre Jack Hughes further ignited expectations by scoring twice in the pre-season opener and already appears to have chemistry with Taylor Hall. Not to be overlooked is Jack’s older brother Quinn Hughes, who registered three assists last season in a five-game cameo with the Vancouver Canucks. The University of Michigan defenceman appears destined to quarterback the Vancouver power play this season. And then there’s winger Kaapo Kakko, who is turning heads with the New York Rangers and could end up playing with free-agent acquisition Artemi Panarin, who had 87 points in 79 games last season to rank 17th overall in scoring.

Cale Makar helped his Colorado Avalanche dispatch his hometown Flames. He enters this season as one of the rookies to watch. (The Associated Press)

Which coach is the first to hit the unemployment line?

In 2017-18, not one coach received a pink slip, the first time since the 1966-67 season that all survived the season. Alas, this was simply a statistical anomaly as last season saw seven coaches fired.

This year, Jeff Blashill could be an early casualty in Detroit, at the helm a rebuilding team under new general manager Steve Yzerman. Paul Maurice is under pressure to push the Winnipeg Jets over whatever obstacle is preventing them from realizing their playoff potential — and he must do it with a decimated blue line, minus the departed Jacob Trouba (to the Rangers) and Tyler Myers (to Vancouver), and the possible retirement of Dustin Byfuglien. In Toronto, Mike Babcock acknowledges the heat is on after three consecutive first-round exits for the talent-laden Maple Leafs.

Also worth considering …

  • Who will have the dubious honour of finishing in the NHL basement? Early favourites are Ottawa, Anaheim and Detroit.
  • Can Micheal Ferland and J.T. Miller provide the secondary scoring the Vancouver Canucks need to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in four years? The Canucks are certainly on the cusp with a young nucleus featuring Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and the aforementioned Quinn Hughes.
  • Will the Carolina Hurricanes, or as Don Cherry calls them, those “Bunch of Jerks,” build on the magic of last season when they reached the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2009? It’s a definite maybe, given they’ve added the likes of Jake Gardiner, Ryan Dzingel and Erik Haula.
  • And finally, will Phil Kessel’s move west to the desert be enough for the Coyotes to snap a seven-year playoff drought? The Coyotes already had impressive depth,but Clayton Keller led the team in scoring last year with just 47 points (good for 129th in the overall scoring race.) Kessel is coming off the most productive two-year span of his career (92 points followed by 82 points.) Now he’s reunited with coach Rick Tocchet, there’s every reason to believe the durable Kessel provides the offensive touch the Coyotes need to take the next step.

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Six people struck by lightning at PGA Tour Championship

Six people were injured Saturday when lightning struck a 60-foot pine at the Tour Championship where they were taking cover from rain and showered them with debris, Atlanta police said.

The third round of the season-ending PGA Tour event had been suspended for about 30 minutes because of storms in the area, and fans were instructed to seek shelter. The strike hit the top of the tree just off the 16th tee and shattered the bark all the way to the bottom.

Brad Uhl of Atlanta was among those crammed under a hospital tent to the right of the 16th hole that was open to the public.

“There was just a big explosion and then an aftershock so strong you could feel the wind from it,” Uhl said after the last of the ambulances pulled out of the golf course. “It was just a flash out of the corner of the eye. It was raining and everyone was huddled near the tree.”

Uhl said the people on the ground were moving around before the ambulances arrived.

WATCH | Lightning strike injures 6 people at Tour Championship:

Six spectators injured when lightning struck a 60-foot pine at the Tour Championship. 0:10

Atlanta Police spokesman James H. White III said five men and one female juvenile had sought shelter beneath a tree. Lightning struck the tree and all six were injured. He said they were taken to hospitals for further treatment, all of them alert, conscious and breathing.

Ambulances streamed into the private club about 6 miles east of downtown Atlanta, where 30 players are competing for the FedEx Cup and its $ 15 million prize. The players already had been taken into the clubhouse before lightning hit, and before long East Lake was hit with a ground-shaking clap of thunder.

Justin Thomas, who had a one-shot lead through five holes when play was halted, said players were eating in the clubhouse when “it felt like the entire clubhouse shook” from the thunder clap.

“The first I heard anything was from one of my friends who came out to watch,” Thomas said. “He said, ‘Dude, I think someone got struck by lightning right next to us.’ And then word started spreading.”

Thomas said he had left tickets for another friend who was on the opposite side of where the tree was hit.

The PGA Tour cancelled the rest of golf Saturday, with the round to resume at 8 a.m. Sunday, followed by the final round.

Last week at the BMW Championship in the Chicago suburbs, Phil Mickelson was delayed getting to the golf course when lightning struck the top of his hotel, causing a precautionary evacuation.

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No lead is safe — unless lightning strikes during a CFL game

No lead is safe is the CFL’s rallying cry — unless lightning strikes.

Last Friday in Montreal, Mother Nature’s wicked wrath wreaked havoc on a game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Alouettes.

With two minutes 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter and the Roughriders leading 17-10, lightning electrified the Montreal night sky, rained poured down, and the teams headed off the field.

Here’s where the drama, and CFL weather protocol, take centre stage.

Because the game passed the midway part of the third quarter (7:30) as soon as the game was delayed the clock started ticking down. In this scenario, protocol now states that should a game be delayed for more than an hour, it will be called and the team leading will be awarded the victory.

And so the Riders, Als and fans across the league waited. The delay began at 9:06 p.m. ET. At first, nobody was really talking about this new hour time limit. But as the minutes ticked by, the protocol started to become a factor, even though many had no idea this rule was in place. However, shortly after the clock struck 10:06 p.m., the CFL called the game and awarded the Roughriders a 17-10 win. 

“Player safety was the single most important factor considered in developing the protocol. It is based on a combination of two important factors: minutes played and minutes delayed,” the CFL explains on its website.

It marked the first time in CFL history a game had been decided before reaching full-time.

And people weren’t happy about it. Why an hour? How was this new protocol decided upon anyway?

Protocol developed this past off-season

Before this season, the league actually didn’t even have a plan or protocol in place for how long a game should be delayed before it was called. It was a judgment made in real time, case-by-base, by the commissioner and other officials at the time — and so that meant that never before had a CFL game ended due to weather.

The weather protocol was negotiated into the CFL and CFL Players’ Association collective bargaining agreement this spring. There’s a lot in it but here it is quite simply.

Each stadium across the league has an onsite weather station to monitor extreme situations. The game supervisor and the CFL Command Centre will be notified if any lightning strikes occur within 25 kilometres of the stadium. In the event of a lightning strike within 10 km, the Game Supervisor will automatically stop the game by contacting the head referee, who will then send teams to their dressing rooms, while notifying spectators that the game is under a weather delay.

If the game is halted before the midway part of the third quarter, they’ll wait for three hours for the weather to clear. That seems like more than enough time.

If the game is stopped after the midway part of the third quarter, like it was in Montreal, they’ll call the game after only an hour.

As for those marquee matchups in the post-season — If a playoff game or the Grey Cup is halted for more than three hours, it will be postponed and concluded the next day with the game commencing where it left off.

There are a few other finer details in the protocol which get kind of complicated but these are the key points to all of this.

Do changes need to made?

There have been many memorable CFL contests over the years featuring inclement weather — wicked summer storms knocking out power only to have the teams return late in the night to finish the game.

There’s the Fog Bowl. Icy turf. Blizzards. And snowglobe settings capturing the quintessential Canadian experience. The CFL is built on quirky. Weather is part of the game. And so many wonder if an hour delay is enough.

This past week the CFL and CFLPA met to talk about this weather protocol. During that meeting the league says it “fully acknowledged that communication with the players association should have been better during the process, and those communication issues were fully discussed and resolved between the parties.”

It seems inevitable this weather protocol will undergo an overhaul during the off-season but both sides agreed they would leave this current iteration of it in place for the rest of this season. As the weather starts to change in regions across the country, the chances are becoming slimmer a summer storm will stop another CFL finish.

But you can be sure officials, players and fans are hoping that lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice.

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CBC | Sports News

Forge takes wild 905 Derby following lightning delay

Attacking football, extreme weather, a long break and two quality goals: What else would you want from a derby match?

Goals from Chris Nanco and Tristan Borges following a 75-minute lightning delay gave Forge FC a 2-0 905 Derby win over York9 FC in the first Canadian Premier League match held at York Lions Stadium.

Both sides were unlucky to score in the sunny, back-and-forth first half, firing off 22 shots between them.

The weather took a turn for the worst at halftime. Lightning strikes led referee Yusri Rudolf to delay the match in the 62nd minute, sending players to their dressing rooms in a downpour. A 75-minute delay followed before the sides returned to play at 6:40 p.m. ET.

It didn’t take the visitors long to jump ahead of their 905 rivals in an otherwise neck-and-neck contest.

Chris Nanco opened the scoring in the 70th-minute with a one-hit strike. A low cross from Kyle Bekker found the second-half substitute, who placed it in the top left corner.

Forge showed their quality once again in the 77th minute. A Kyle Bekker free kick, dummied by Nanco, found Tristan Borges at the top of the box. Borges smashed home the dagger, giving the visitors a key Spring season win.

WATCH | Borges secures 905 Derby for Forge FC:

Forge FC beats York9 FC 2-nil with goals from Christopher Nanco and Tristan Borges. 0:52

York9 are now set to head to Halifax on May 29 for a dance with HFX Wanderers FC. Meanwhile, Forge next hosts FC Edmonton in CPL action on May 29, with the two outfits meeting for the first time in a CONCACAF League qualifier.

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Woman Records Rare, Dangerous ‘Positive Lightning’ Strike on Video

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Once, when I lived in Louisville, KY, I witnessed a lightning strike that hit the ground a few dozen feet from my vehicle, as I was merging on to the Gene Snyder Expressway. If you’ve never been close to a lightning strike, it can be difficult to describe the experience. At that range, there’s no perceivable gap between the lightning and the thunder. I was momentarily blinded (while driving at speed) and felt the thunder as a physical shockwave through the air as much as an audible phenomenon.

I was, in a word, shaken. The only reason I didn’t immediately pull off the road is that I suddenly had absolutely zero interest in remaining where I was. All of this is to say, I deeply sympathize with Erica Hite, of Boynton Beach, Florida, who inadvertently captured a rare positive lightning strike on camera and was obviously rattled by the experience.

What makes this strike interesting is that it was positive, not negative, lightning. Positive lightning is much more rare than negative, as this Doppler radar image and accompanying data on lightning strikes from Wxbrad.com makes clear:


Credit: WXBrad.com

The terms positive and negative refer to the polarity of the lightning strike. Typically, lightning transfers a negative charge from cloud to ground. A negatively charged lightning bolt typically carries ~300M volts and 30,000 amps. But unlike negative lightning, which typically originates from the lower portion or middle of a thunderstorm, positive lightning is generated at higher altitudes, 30,000-60,000 feet high. Typically, the insulating layer of negative charge shields the ground from positive lightning strikes. Should this layer be disrupted, a positive lightning strike can result.

Because these strikes begin so high in the atmosphere, they can be significantly stronger and last much longer — up to one billion volts and 300,000 amps. Positive lightning is much rarer than negative, but it kills a far higher percentage of the people unlucky enough to be struck by the bolt. Positive lightning strikes are also responsible for much of the damage to homes, buildings, and other structures hit by lightning in the first place.

“It was crazy. Very scary, very loud,” Hite told the Palm Beach Post. “It was just the right place at the right time. I could probably never in my life get something like that again.”

Probably not. And given just how dangerous positive lightning is, probably for the best. Incidentally, while the bolt is a brilliant red, the color has nothing to do with the fact that it was a positive strike. Lightning color varies depending on local atmospheric conditions and distance from the strike. Lightning is often orange or red for the last few feet of the stroke, which is what we see in the video above.

Now Read:

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Jackets play giant killer with historic sweep of Lightning

Sullen and speechless, the Tampa Bay Lightning had little explanation for how they followed up a glorious regular season by getting bounced from the playoffs with record-setting haste.

The Columbus Blue Jackets capped a stunning sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy winners with a 7-3 victory Tuesday night. Tampa Bay became the first team in the expansion era, which began in 1967-68, to go winless in the first round of the playoffs after leading the league in points during the regular season.

And what a season it was. Tampa Bay tied the NHL record for wins with 62 and amassed 128 points, fourth in NHL history.

“Yeah, it sucks,” said Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who had 128 points in the regular season but was kept off the scoresheet until Tuesday night.

“Nothing was our way in the series,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, didn’t clinch the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot until the 81st game. But they outplayed the Lightning with a smothering forecheck and stellar goaltending by Sergei Bobrovsky.

Columbus won its first-ever playoff series on its fifth try and advances to play the winner of the Boston-Toronto series, which the Maple Leafs lead 2-1.

“It’s a great feeling to finally get one,” Blue Jackets defenceman David Savard said. “The job’s not done. We have to keep going.”

Bobrovsky shines

Bobrovsky carried the day again for the Blue Jackets, finishing with 30 saves.

With Columbus clinging to a 4-3 lead in the third period, Tampa Bay had wrested the momentum from the Blue Jackets but still couldn’t solve Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackets’ final three goals came late in the period after the Lightning had pulled goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extra skater.

“They were the better team,” said Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, who also didn’t score until Game 4. “They executed their game plan. I don’t know what to say. If we had the answers we would have found a way to win a game.”

Oliver Bjorkstrand celebrates his goal that gave the Columbus Blue Jackets the lead on their way to 7-3 win and a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Rookie Alexandre Texier, who was brought over after his season ended in the Finnish league, scored his first NHL goal and later added one of the empty-netters. Pierre Luc-Dubois had a goal and a pair of assists.

A dozen different players scored for Columbus in the series.

“I’m so happy for them because I think they really can see if you’re a unit you can get some things accomplished,” said Columbus coach John Tortorella, who led Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup championship in 2004. “As we approach the second round, wherever it may be, it’s going to have to be even tighter. I think this is a really good foundation, (and) you can do some really crazy things if you stay together as a unit.”

Stamkos, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay, which never led in this elimination game. The Lightning tied it at 3 on Point’s goal late in the second period , but Oliver Bjorkstrand scored 54 seconds later to put Columbus ahead for good.

“A bounce here, a bounce there maybe it’s a different game,” Lightning wing Ryan Callahan said. “But at the end of the day it wasn’t good enough top to bottom from our team. A very structured team over there, played to their systems, didn’t waver and outplayed us for four games.”

Presidents’ Trophy winners to lose in 1st round:

  • 1991 Chicago Blackhawks lost to Minnesota 4-2
  • 2000 St. Louis Blues lost to San Jose 4-3
  • 2006 Detroit Red Wings lost to Edmonton 4-2
  • 2009 San Jose Sharks lost to Anaheim 4-2
  • 2010 Washington Capitals lost to Montreal 4-3
  • 2012 Vancouver Canucks lost to Los Angeles 4-1
  • 2019 Tampa Bay Lighnting lost to Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0

Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli battles with Columbus defenceman Seth Jones and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 4 on Tuesday. (Jay LaPrete/Associated Press)

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Powerhouse Lightning left reeling as Blue Jackets grab 2-0 series lead

Matt Duchene had a goal and three assists, Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves, and the Columbus Blue Jackets stunned the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Friday night to take a 2-0 first-round series lead.

Columbus also got goals from Cam Atkinson, Zach Werenski, Riley Nash and Artemi Panarin. The Blue Jackets started the post-season last season by winning the first two games of the first-round series with eventual Stanley Cup Washington, which won the next four games.

Mikhail Sergachev had a goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for the Lightning, who lost two games in a row just twice in the regular season. Tampa Bay matched the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins in a regular season with 62.

Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, who led the NHL with 128 points, was held off the scoresheet for the second consecutive game and picked up tripping, boarding and 10-minute misconduct penalties late in the third period.

The Blue Jackets rallied from a three-goal, first-period deficit to beat Tampa Bay 4-3 in Game 1 on Wednesday night as Seth Jones scored the go-ahead goal on the power play to cap Columbus’ three-goal third period.

Duchene assisted on both Columbus goals during the first period and put the Blue Jackets ahead 3-0 on the power play when the center scored on the rebound at 1:28 of the second after Vasilevskiy had stopped his tip-in try.

The Lightning got within two goals at 3-1 when Sergachev’s shot went into the net off Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara’s skate five minutes into the third. But, Nash and Panarin scored goals over a three-minute span midway through the period.

Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky makes a sprawling save in the Jackets’ win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Bobrovsky stopped Kucherov’s shot and got a piece of Steven Stamkos’ scoring chance that also went off the crossbar during an early second-period power play.

Duchene stole the puck from J.T. Miller along the left-wing boards and sent a pass into the low slot that Atkinson redirected past Vasilevskiy 5:15 into the game.

Werenski made it 2-0 from the blue line after Duchene won a faceoff during a power play at 11:44 of the first.

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Stamkos, Lightning trip up Leafs to become 2nd team in NHL history to win 61 games

As far as losses go, this was one the Maple Leafs could stomach.

Steven Stamkos scored once and also set up Alex Killorn’s winner with under six minutes to go in regulation as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated Toronto 3-1 on Thursday.

With a second consecutive first-round playoff date against the Boston Bruins looming, the Leafs tightened up defensively against the Presidents’ Trophy winners in a game that meant nothing in the standings.

Other positives included Frederik Andersen — shaky over the last month — making 26 saves in a bounce-back effort, while Mitch Marner scored and was a force all night.

It wasn’t enough, though, and that has to change starting next week.

“We played well,” said Marner, whose club dropped to 46-28-7 with one game left on the schedule. “We didn’t make many mistakes, but again, we’ve got to stop making mistakes.

“People are scoring on them so we’ve got to clean some things up.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 shots for Tampa (61-16-4), which became just the second team in NHL history to win more than 60 games. Scoring leader Nikita Kucherov added his 40th goal into an empty net to hit 126 points, and Ryan McDonagh had two assists in front of a crowd of 19,400 at Scotiabank Arena.

Tampa clinched the league’s best regular-season record on March 18, while Toronto is cemented in the Atlantic Division’s No. 3 seed.

WATCH | Highlights from Tampa Bay’s win:

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Thursday for their 61st win of the season, one shy of the NHL record set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. 1:28

“It was a good game,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said. “I didn’t think either team gave up very much.”

Having rebounded off a disappointing 4-2 loss in Montreal against the Canadiens on Tuesday, Tampa now has a chance to tie the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings’ record of 62 wins in Saturday’s regular-season finale in Boston, although that mark came before 3-on-3 overtime and shootouts. The 1976-77 Canadiens won 60 times over the course of an 80-game schedule.

The Leafs wrap up their regular season Saturday in Montreal.

“It would be really awesome to get 62, but what was more important tonight was getting our game back in check,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “We thought we left a lot out there in the Montreal game.”

Tied 1-1 in the third period, Leafs centre Frederik Gauthier turned the puck over the neutral zone to spark a Lightning counter. Stamkos darted off the bench and threw a pass back to Killorn, who beat a down-and-out Andersen with a fluttering one-timer for his 18th goal of the season with 5:48 left in regulation.

Toronto pressed for the tie with Andersen on the bench, but Vasilevskiy stopped Patrick Marleau in tight before Kucherov sealed it.

“Both teams played well,” Andersen said. “They got the one extra goal.”

While the Leafs know they will open their playoffs next week against Boston at TD Garden, the same building where Toronto lost in Game 7 to the Bruins in last spring’s first round, the Lightning are still waiting to learn their opponent.

“You can tell the difference in a game where two teams have clinched,” Stamkos said. “We just wanted to play solid hockey.”

Tied 1-1 through two periods, John Tavares had a chance off a spinning Marner pass that Vasilevskiy got a piece of about six minutes into the third. Andersen denied Yanni Gourde and Brayden Point on back-to-back efforts off the rush.

Vasilevskiy then robbed Tavares again with his glove with under seven minutes left to set up Killorn’s winner moments later.

Down 1-0 after the first, the Lightning got even at 5:37 of the second with the Leafs on a power play. Stamkos took a breakaway pass from McDonagh and snapped a shot glove side on Andersen that he could only get a piece of for the Tampa captain’s 44th.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner was back in the lineup after missing 18 games with a back injury. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Anthony Cirelli rang a shot off the post behind Andersen with the team’s playing 4 on 4 before the Toronto goalie stopped Stamkos on another blast.

Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner returned to the lineup after missing 18 games with a back injury, while winger Andreas Johnsson recovered from an illness that kept him out of Toronto’s last two outings. Blue-liner Jake Muzzin (illness), who also sat out Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Carolina, and Nazem Kadri (maintenance) didn’t dress for Toronto.

Babcock said both Muzzin and Kadri will miss the finale in Montreal.

The Lightning were minus star defenceman Victor Hedman for a third straight contest after he was involved in a collision against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

“Some relief,” Gardiner said of getting back into the fray. “It’s always tough when you’re sitting out with an injury and you’re not sure if you’re going to be able to get back.”

Toronto opened the scoring at 4:41 on the first when Marner disrupted a Lightning attack at the Leafs’ blue line, got the puck back from Zach Hyman to create a 2-on-1 break the other way and beat Vasilevskiy with a no-look shot between the pads for his 26th.

“That was a fun hockey game,” Cooper said. “But that was definitely not a playoff game.”

Those will come soon enough.

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