I thought it appropriate that the first ever Hockey post on Zapread should be about an historic event in the NHL.
The Tampa Bay Lightning finished the season with the fourth highest point total in NHL history. The three higher totals belonged to the Montreal Canadiens (twice) who went on to win the Stanley Cup both times. Detroit Red Wings were the other team with a higher point total. They lost in the Conference final (3rd round of the playoffs). TB won the right to a first round match against the team with the lowest point total to make the playoffs. In their 19 year history the Columbus Blue Jackets had only made the playoffs twice before, losing in the first round both times.
Last night TB became the highest finishing regular season team to be swept out of the playoffs in the first round. They not only failed to win a game, they never led after the end of the 2nd period of the first game. They jumped to a 3-0 lead in that one only to lose 4-3. The best they could muster after that was to briefly tie the score at 3 in the fourth game. Their season ended with an 8 second vignette when, down 7-3 they lost the faceoff. Columbus fired the puck lazily toward the TB goalie where he stood still to receive it with his skates while the defence and forwards skated in circles watching their glorious season wind down to an inglorious end.
They coulda bin contendas! See ya next year 'Bolts! Enjoy the golf season.