The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the verge of advancing to the Eastern Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since entering the NHL in 2000. They are 0-4 in playoff series all-time.
Their 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nationwide Arena on Sunday made the Blue Jackets the second team to take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 series against a Presidents' Trophy winner in the opening round. The Los Angeles Kings went ahead 3-0 against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals en route to winning the series in five games and becoming the first No. 8 seed to win the Stanley Cup in the conference era (since 1974-75).
Video: Blue Jackets keep shocking, take 3-0 series lead
With a win in Game 4 in Columbus on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN360, TVAS, FS-O, SUN), the Blue Jackets would be the fourth NHL team and second in as many seasons to complete a four-game sweep for their first series victory. The Vegas Golden Knights swept the Kings in the 2018 first round and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Oakland Seals 4-0 in the 1970 West Division Quarterfinals. The 1981 Calgary Flames earned a three-game sweep against the Chicago Blackhawks in a best-of-5 preliminary round.
The Lightning, who tied an NHL single-season record with 62 wins, had not lost three consecutive games since going 0-3-0 from March 24-29, 2018. They were 3-0-0 against the Blue Jackets in the regular season while outscoring them 17-3.
Islanders push Penguins to brink
Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson scored 1:02 apart in the first period to help the New York Islanders take a 3-0 lead against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 4-1 win at PPG Paints Arena. New York is ahead 3-0 in a best-of-7 series for the 10th time in its history and first since sweeping the Edmonton Oilers in the 1983 Stanley Cup Final.
The Penguins are down 3-0 for the sixth time in their history and third since 2007, facing long odds entering Game 4 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS2, ATTSN-PT, MSG, MSG+).
Teams with a 3-0 lead are 186-4 all time. The Islanders are among the four teams to rally from down 3-0 when they did it against the Penguins in the 1975 Quarterfinals. Glenn Resch allowed four goals over the remaining four games to help New York become the first team in the modern era (since 1943-44) to win a best-of-7 series after trailing 3-0.
Stastny, Pacioretty, Stone shine for Golden Knights in Game 3
The line of Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone combined for 12 points (six goals, six assists) to help the Golden Knights take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference First Round with a 6-3 win against the San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena.
Video: Stone, Eberle, Jets steal the show on Sunday
Stone (five points; three goals, two assists), acquired from the Ottawa Senators prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25, had the first hat trick of his NHL career and first playoff hat trick by a Vegas player. Stastny's five points (two goals, three assists) were an NHL career high. He and Stone are the first Golden Knights' players to have five points in a game. Pacioretty, traded to the Golden Knights by the Montreal Canadiens on Sept. 9, 2018, had two points (one goal, one assist).
The Golden Knights joined the 1981 Boston Bruins as the second NHL team to score an opening-minute goal in each period of a postseason game. They're also the third team in the past 30 years to score in the opening minute of consecutive postseason games (2000 New Jersey Devils, 1991 Bruins).
Connor, Laine soar for Jets
Kyle Connor (two goals) and Patrik Laine (one goal, one assist) helped the Winnipeg Jets defeat the St. Louis Blues 6-3 in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at Enterprise Center to trim the Blues' lead in the best-of-7 series to 2-1.
Laine has four points (three goals, one assist) in three playoff games after scoring one goal in his final 19 regular-season games. He is the first player in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers history to score in each of their opening three games of a playoff year.