Stanley Cup: The East Just Got Weird (and Could Get Weirder)

I said Lightning in 5.

I said Penguins in 7.

Both got swept.

So that’s what half the Eastern Conference playoff bracket looks like right now.

As a Penguins fan, the whole series was like getting hit in the back of the head by a 2×4. I wasn’t expecting a 4-game sweep by the Islanders. In the end, they played better and wanted it more. The Penguins couldn’t get anything going the last three games of the series offensively and Kris Letang led the Penguins in playing mediocre defense. That’s right. The only defenseman on the team that has been a part of this group that has won three Stanley Cups had the worst performance.

But the bigger story is the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team that grabbed the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, swept the Tampa Bay Lightning, who posted the best regular season record with 62 wins, tying them with the 1995-96 Red Wings with most in NHL history.

The Blue Jackets got crush in the first 20 minutes of Game 1, going down 3-0 and left me tweeting this…

Then the Blue Jackets came back and won 4-3. Then won Game 2. Then Game 3, and then Game 4, as the Lightning imploded right in front of the hockey world.

The tweet was so bad, I trolled myself…

That 1995-96 Red Wings team didn’t win the Stanley Cup, but at least got to the Western Conference Finals. The Lightning look dumb-founded, including Jon Cooper, who only showed emotion in Tuesday’s elimination game when a Columbus goal was waved off due to offsides.

The Blue Jackets played like the team many expected after the trade deadline. I guess if you’re Matt Duchene, you save your best for the playoffs

For years I have said it: The Presidents’ Trophy is a stupid award and distracts the team that wins in from the real price.

We know Round 2 in the East will be Islanders vs. Capitals/Hurricanes and Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs/Bruins. With Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh both out, and if Carolina can find a way to beat the Capitals and the Leafs beat Boston, the East is more interesting.

The Islanders haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1983, the Hurricanes since 2006 and obviously, the Maple Leafs since 1967.

For the Blue Jackets, it’s the first time they’ve made it out of the first round. This is new territory for them. People in central Ohio woke up Wednesday morning and had to make sure this past week wasn’t a dream.

So, if you want chaos, cheer for Carolina and Toronto.

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