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Facts and Figures: Blue Jackets sweep Lightning, make playoff history

Become first team to defeat regular-season champion in opening round without losing

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Thirst for the Cup: Blue Jackets

#ThirstForTheCup: Columbus advances to Second Round

The Columbus Blue Jackets take Game 4 and advance to the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as they look to quench their #ThirstForTheCup

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The Columbus Blue Jackets made NHL history on the way to their first series victory in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since entering the NHL in 2000.

Columbus completed the first sweep of a regular-season champion in an opening-round series on Tuesday by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 at Nationwide Arena in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round. The Blue Jackets will play the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round; the Maple Leafs lead their best-of-7 series 2-1 entering Game 4 in Toronto on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, NESN).

Video: Blue Jackets sweep Lightning for first series win

The Blue Jackets also became the fourth team to complete a four-game sweep in any round against the team with the best record during the regular season. Each of the other three clubs (1970 Bruins, 1988 Edmonton Oilers, 1995 New Jersey Devils) won the Stanley Cup.

Columbus is the fourth team in NHL history whose first playoff series victory was a sweep, as well as the seventh team to defeat the Presidents' Trophy winner in the first round (in any number of games). Of the first six clubs to do so, three reached the Stanley Cup Final; the 2012 Los Angeles Kings won the Cup.

The Lightning (62-16-4), who matched the NHL single-season wins record set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings, finished 30 points ahead of the Blue Jackets (47-31-4). Columbus is the 10th team in NHL history to win a playoff series against a team that it trailed by at least 30 points during the regular season; the last to do so was the Montreal Canadiens (39-33-10) against the Washington Capitals (54-15-13) in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

 

Islanders eliminate Penguins, complete first sweep since 1983

The New York Islanders made some history of their own Tuesday.

New York completed its seventh playoff sweep since entering the NHL in 1972, and its first since the 1983 Stanley Cup Final, with a 3-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Islanders will play the Washington Capitals or Carolina Hurricanes in their second trip past the first round since 1993. The Capitals lead that best-of-7 series 2-1 entering Game 4 at PNC Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, FS-CR, NBCSWA).

New York clinched a series on the road for the 13th time in its history but the first since winning at Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the 1993 Patrick Division Final.

Video: Islanders advance with sweep of Penguins

 

How they got there: Blue Jackets and Islanders

Columbus fell behind 4:12 into its series against the Lightning and trailed 3-0 before the end of the first period in Game 1. But the Blue Jackets tied the game at 11:54 of the third period and did not trail again during the rest of the series. In all, Columbus was tied or leading for all but 47:02 of 240:00.

The Islanders trailed after allowing the first goal in Games 2, 3 and 4, but responded within three minutes each time. They trailed for 4:51 of the 244:39 in the series.

Columbus had 12 goal-scorers and 15 players with at least one point, led by center Matt Duchene who had seven points (three goals, four assists). The Blue Jackets are the second team in the past 28 years to have at least 12 different goal-scorers in a series that required four games, joining the 2011 Red Wings, who had 13 players score against the Phoenix Coyotes. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky finished with a 2.01 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.

Video: Islanders, Jackets complete the sweep, Jets win in OT

Forward Jordan Eberle became the second player in Islanders history to score a goal in each of the team's first four games during a playoff year; in 1993, center Ray Ferraro opened the playoffs by scoring in five straight games. Eberle's team-high six points (four goals, two assists) in the series match Ferraro (four goals, two assists) and Billy Carroll (one goal, five assists) for the most by an Islanders player through his first four playoff games with the club.

Goalie Robin Lehner finished with a 1.47 GAA and .956 save percentage; he allowed one goal in each of the final three games. Lehner is the 13th goalie in NHL history to win each of his first four playoff starts, and the first since Michael Leighton did it with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.

Teams that hold a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 series improved to 188-4 all-time.

 

Golden Knights get jump on Sharks again

The Vegas Golden Knights continue to thrive by scoring quickly.

Forward Max Pacioretty scored the first of his two goals 1:11 into the game, and the Golden Knights became the first team in NHL history to score in the opening 90 seconds of three consecutive playoff games on their way to a 5-0 victory against the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round at T-Mobile Arena.

Video: Golden Knights continue their high-scoring hot streak

The Golden Knights, who lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 entering Game 5 at SAP Center on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, NBCSCA, ATTSN-RM), also became the first team to score in the opening 1:30 of four straight periods in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Pacioretty, who also had two assists, is the third Golden Knights player in as many games to have at least four points; linemates Mark Stone and Paul Stastny each had five in Game 3. Pacioretty, who has 10 points (four goals, six assists), also became the first player to begin a postseason with at least four consecutive multipoint games since Paul Martin of the Penguins in 2014.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for his 15th playoff shutout, tying him with Clint Benedict and Chris Osgood for fourth on the NHL's all-time playoff list. The victory was his 78th in the postseason, passing Mike Vernon for seventh place in League history.

 

Connor gives Jets first overtime win in playoffs

Kyle Connor assisted on Mark Scheifele's tying goal in the third period, then scored 6:02 into overtime to give the Winnipeg Jets a series-tying 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round at Enterprise Center. It's the first playoff OT win for the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise, which entered the NHL in 1999.

Connor gave the Jets their fifth consecutive victory in St. Louis dating to Feb. 23, 2018 (including the regular season). The road team has won nine of the past 10 games between the teams. Game 5 is Thursday in Winnipeg (8:30 p.m. ET: USA, CBC, TVAS, FS-MW)
Scheifele has scored 12 of his 16 playoff goals on the road (12 goals in 12 games played). He and Steve Payne are the only two players in NHL history to average at least one goal per game through their first 12 road playoff games.

This is the fourth consecutive year that at least one series has started with four consecutive road wins. It happened twice last year (Capitals-Blue Jackets and Capitals-Lightning), once in 2017 (Anaheim Ducks-Oilers) and once in 2016 (Ducks-Nashville Predators).

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