Article by: Zach Henley
Coming into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning were some of the heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup. However, after the first three games of the postseason, these teams do not look the same.
The Tampa Bay Lightning led the league in almost every category during the regular season. Now that they are playing in the playoffs, they look like an entirely different team. Over the first three games of the series, the Lightning have been outscored by first round matchup Columbus Blue Jackets, 12 to 5. Tampa Bay is not used to this type of situation, considering they only lost 20 times in the regular season. If the team loses and is eliminated in the first round, the record setting season will be for nothing. On the flip side, the Blue Jackets are feeling amazing with their 3-0 lead over the regular season champs. The team barely got into the playoffs, as they won the second wild card team and on paper, seeming to be outmatched by the Lightning. After a costly suspension to league leading Nikita Kucherov, the Blue Jackets took advantage and have caused the Lightning to be in serious trouble. With game four looming, one looks to keep their dreams alive, while the other looks to complete the sweep in front of their home crowd.
The other big disappointment also happens to be in the East, and that team is the Pittsburgh Penguins. When you win two of the last three Stanley Cups, you are expected to play well and go far into the playoffs. This year is not the case for the 5-time Stanley Cup winners, as they trail the New York Islanders 3-0. The Islanders have only won one playoff series in the last 25 years and on the verge of winning their second. The Penguins are being outscored 11 to 5 and are not playing like themselves. The fourth game will be played in Pittsburgh as they try to salvage a win and keep their championship hopes alive. Both teams played relatively the same and had the same record in the regular season, so this series looked to be a fun and interesting one going forward.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are well underway, and it has been interesting and full of surprises. In the upcoming days, teams look to extend their leads, and some look to even punch their ticket to the next round.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed the article be sure to drop a like! Also feel free to comment your thoughts and opinions down below.
To get keep getting news and updates on all things sports, be sure to keep it here, with Heated Sports!