Rookie Alexandre Texier scored his first two playoff goals as the host Columbus Blue Jackets made history with a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, wrapping up an Eastern Conference first-round series. The Lightning became the NHL's first Presidents' Trophy winner ever to be swept in a best-of-seven, opening-round playoff series. Tampa Bay had tied the all-time NHL record with 62 regular-season wins.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history. Columbus' Oliver Bjorkstrand scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period, and Artemi Panarin, Texier and Matt Duchene added empty-net goals in the final two minutes.
Pierre Luc-Dubois and Seth Jones also scored for the Blue Jackets. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves. Steven Stamkos, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Point scored for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 18 of the 22 shots he faced.
Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov, the NHL's scoring leader in the regular season, returned to the lineup after being suspended a game for boarding Columbus' Markus Nutivaara late in Game 2. Kucherov assisted on two goals. The Lightning played without defenseman Victor Hedman, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, for the second straight game because of an undisclosed illness.
The Blue Jackets took a 2-0 lead in the opening four minutes. Texier, who played in just two regular-season games, opened the scoring at 2:26 on a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle.
Dubois made it 2-0 at 3:48, as Bjorkstrand's shot went off the boards behind the net and caromed to Dubois, who scored on a backhander. Stamkos got the Lightning on the board at 8:44 of the first, deking a defender and putting a quick shot past Bobrovsky.
Jones restored the two-goal lead at 6:28 of the second, taking a pass from Cam Atkinson and scoring on a slap shot. The Lightning tied the game at 3-3 on goals by Paquette and Point, the latter with 2:08 left in the second period.
Bjorkstrand got the winner with an extra attacker on the ice for a delayed Tampa Bay penalty. Scott Harrington's shot was stopped by Vasilevskiy, but Bjorkstrand was left all alone at the far post to poke the rebound into an open net. --Field Level Media