NHL Playoffs: A Look Inside the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jackets

The NHL playoffs are all set. The Stanley Cup is just 16 wins away. However, it will be the hardest 16 wins that a team will have to go through. Each team will start with a clean slate. If the two teams played each other during the regular season it means very little. The first of the Eastern Conference playoff matchups’ is the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Now as I said above that the regular season means very little. In fact, these two teams met three times and the Lightning won all 3 in crushing fashion. Now they are set to meet in the first round. Although, the teams took to different paths to get to the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Tampa Bay Lightning have been a dominant team since November. Everything seems to be favoring them to win the Stanley Cup for only the second time in franchise history. The Columbus Blue Jackets had a good season and got in via the final wild-card spot. The Jackets made some trades at the deadline now we will see if they can help with an upset.

The Lightning biggest weapon this year was their depth. If they went down with an injury or a player was in a slump the next guy stepped up. The Lightning may have to have that as defenseman and Norris trophy winner Victor Hedman may have suffered a concussion. Hedman has missed the last few games with an upper-body injury. The Lightning went 2-1 in their final three games. Therefore, the Lightning should be alright against the Blue Jackets in the first few games. However, they will need him back before the series ends.

The Blue Jackets did not clinch their playoff spot until Friday night when they defeated the New York Rangers. The one player that the Jackets will be leaning on is Cam Atkinson. Atkinson scored 41 goals during the regular season. The Lightning had three players tally 40 or more goals. If the Blue Jackets have a chance to beat the Lightning, they will have to find a way to take their shots and put them in the back of the net. The Jackets have a tall order in hand.

My Prediction: Lightning in 5

Who do you think will win the series between the Blue Jackets and Lightning? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Bradley on Twitter @bradwalker3083

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