Blue Jackets go for sweep of NHL-best Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning tied an NHL record with 62 regular-season victories.
They're going to need to match another mark to remain in the playoffs.
The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders, 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and 2014 Los Angeles Kings are the only NHL teams to overcome an 3-0 deficit in a seven-game playoff series.
The Lightning find themselves in that position following a 3-1 defeat Sunday night at the Columbus Blue Jackets, who will play host to Game 4 on Tuesday night. Teams that have been up 3-0 have gone on to post a 186-4 record when it comes to winning the series.
"We did a lot of good things, more than in Game 2 for sure," Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh told NHL.com after Sunday's loss. "We've got to stick with the formula there and hope a few more find the back (of the net)."
No team that won the Presidents' Trophy has ever been swept in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lightning played Game 3 without Nikita Kucherov, who led the league with 128 points in the regular season. Kucherov was suspended one game by the NHL Department of Player Safety for boarding Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara late in the third period of Game 2.
Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman, last year's Norris Trophy winner as the league's top defenseman, missed Sunday's game with an undisclosed injury and was considered doubtful for Tuesday, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Monday. Hedman missed the final four games of the regular season with an upper-body injury.
Cooper also was unsure Monday about the status of defenseman Anton Stralman (lower body) and center Alex Killorn (undisclosed). Stralman has yet to appear in the playoffs but practiced Monday, when Killorn did not skate.
"(Kucherov) is a big part of our team," Cooper said. "The leading scorer in the league. He's definitely going to be an MVP finalist, so anytime you take someone like that out of the lineup, as well as Hedman ... I thought we battled."
The Lightning showed some signs of life in the third period Sunday, outshooting Columbus 17-8.
"We started to make some plays," Lightning forward Tyler Johnson told NHL.com. "Throughout the game and throughout the series, I thought we were keeping it too simple in a way. We have a lot of skill in this room, we need to use it."
Since taking a 3-0 lead in the first period of Game 1, the Lightning have been outscored 12-2.
The Blue Jackets are the only current NHL team never to win a Stanley Cup playoff series. They'll try to remedy that Tuesday at Nationwide Arena.
"These fans deserve us getting the job done here at home," Blue Jackets forward Matt Duchene, who scored the opening goal, told NHL.com. "It's been a long time coming for this team."
Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson also scored for Columbus, and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves. Tampa Bay's lone goal was by Ondrej Palat; goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves.
"They threw the kitchen sink at us in the third period and (Bobrovsky) was big for us," Duchene said. "We did just enough to give up only one goal."
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella cautioned the series isn't over.
"I'm happy about the way we've gone about our business," Tortorella said. "We have a lot of work to do. We've got to be really careful here."
--Field Level MediaHome