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Facts, figures and observations from a CBJ sweep

Numbers show how Blue Jackets were able to bottle Lightning

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

If you're sitting there wondering how the heck did that happen?, well, you're probably not alone. 

It's not that the Blue Jackets won a playoff series for the first time ever on Tuesday night. This is a good team, and a playoff series win was bound to happen at some point. The surprise was the comprehensive, impressive and downright dominating way they did it, sweeping the Presidents' Trophy winner right out of the first round by a combined score of 19-8. 

After an NHL record-tying 62 wins during the regular season, the Bolts left the postseason with zero wins, and the first team to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs was the first team out after losing four straight to the last team to qualify. 

It was a series of storylines like that, so how did the Blue Jackets do it? Here's a look at some facts, figures, and randomness from the historic occasion.  

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CBJ led the way: Here's a stat you never would have believed after the Blue Jackets trailed 3-0 after one period of play in the series. 

Columbus was the ultimate front-runner in the series, leading for 155:36 of the 240 minutes over the four games. That means the Jackets led for nearly two-thirds of the series, helped by the fact that after being ahead for just the final 5:55 of the first game, Columbus scored less than six minutes into Game 2, early in the second period of Game 3, and just 2:26 into Game 4. 

In contrast, Tampa Bay led for just 47:42, all in Game 1, while the series was tied for 36:42 overall. For most of the series, the Bolts had to play catch-up, and the only time they were able to tie the score after the CBJ took the lead was in the second period of Game 4. Just 54 seconds later Oliver Bjorkstrand scored and the Jackets led the rest of the way. 

Video: TBL@CBJ, Gm4: Bjorkstrand cleans up rebound in front

"That was the biggest goal of the series right there," Cam Atkinson said afterward.  

In close competition was the breakaway goal captain Nick Foligno scored to put the CBJ on the board in Game 1 and start the fightback from the 3-0 hole. Head coach John Tortorella pointed to that as one of the turning points of the series along with a huge save Sergei Bobrovsky made early in the second period that kept it from being a 4-0 game. 

From those two points, the Jackets started rolling and never looked back. 

"We came back and started to believe," Matt Duchene said. "It's funny how things happen and momentum comes." 

Powerful power play: OK, so we don't have to go into the traditional CBJ struggles to put together a dominant power play.  

But we sure as heck can bask in the glow of a series where the Blue Jackets power play was simply dominant. Columbus scored a power-play goal in each game and went 5-for-10 overall -- a number that would have been 6-for-10 had the puck not left the zone by a whisker, disallowing Atkinson's first-period PPG in Game 4. 

All that came against a Tampa Bay team that led the NHL in penalty-kill percentage this year with a success rate north of 85 percent. 

"I think our power play got shots through," Tortorella said. "I think (Alexandre Texier) made a difference on our power play. We got some shots through. It's not like we changed a lot about how we break out and break in and run it. We got some shots through and got some people to the net." 

Video: TBL@CBJ, Gm4: Texier snipes early power-play goal

At the same time, the Blue Jackets' penalty kill was just as good. That wasn't a huge surprise considering the Jackets were second in the NHL in PK behind Tampa Bay, but the Bolts did enter the series atop the league in power-play percentage as well. 

So it was a strength on strength matchup, but the Blue Jackets won. First of all, the team didn't take many penalties, giving the Lightning just six power plays for the entire series. Tampa Bay scored on only one of them and even gave up a shorthanded goal, making the whole thing a wash. 

Individual honors: The Blue Jackets were the ultimate fill-up-the-stat-sheet team in the first round, totaling 19 goals in the four-game series. Four of them were empty-netters, but still, that's an impressive tally. 

In all, 12 different Blue Jackets scored goals, while 15 of the 19 skaters to see the ice in the four games had at least a point and 13 had multiple points. Six Jackets were point-a-game players with at least four points. 

There were six players who scored multiple goals, led by Matt Duchene's three among his team-best seven points. Texier, Bjorkstrand, Atkinson, Seth Jones and Artemi Panarin each tallied twice.  

Things were a lot different on the other side. Tampa Bay's top trio of NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point each entered with at least 40 goals this season; none got on the board until Game 4, and the three totaled two goals, three assists and combined minus-17 rating.  

How about this? With his two goals in the series, Texier -- a 19-year-old rookie who entered the series with a grand total of two NHL games under his belt and who spent most of the season playing in Finland -- had as many goals as Kucherov, Stamkos and Point combined. 

Then there was the play of Sergei Bobrovsky, which cannot be overlooked. The goaltender was dominant in the series, posting a 2.01 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. On the other side, Andrei Vasilevskiy had a GAA of 3.83 and a save percentage of .856. 

Video: TBL@CBJ, Gm4: Bobrovsky stops Point's scoring chance

See it live: Columbus topped 19,000 fans in consecutive games, with 19,224 in Nationwide Arena for Game 3 and 19,328 in the building for Game 4. The Game 3 crowd was the third largest in arena history for a hockey game until Game 4, which topped it. Decibel figures aren't available, as all such meters were likely broken by the roaring crowds at the start of each game, after goals, and whenever the Jackets needed a boost. 

"That's the loudest crowd I've ever played in front of, bar none," Duchene said. "You can feel how much this city needed it and wanted this."

Give yourselves a hand, 5th Line, and don't forget to get your tickets when they come available for the second round Friday. But maybe keep your beer in your hand, as Tortorella doesn't really need it during the games. 

"I had beers poured on my from the fans," the head coach said with a smile on his face after Game 4. "Not only at the end of the game but during the game when we scored some goals, I had two beers poured on me from the people behind me." 

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