Columbus eager to get back to business after stunning hockey world
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[April 25, 2019]
By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) - The Columbus Blue Jackets
are through marveling at their stunning sweep of the Tampa Bay
Lightning as they set their sights on a second-round Stanley Cup
Playoffs clash with the Boston Bruins.
Columbus stunned the hockey world by eliminating Tampa Bay in what
was the franchise's maiden playoff series win and also the first
four-game sweep of a regular-season National Hockey League champion
in an opening-round series.
"Right now we got to be through patting ourselves on the back as far
as winning a round and get ready to play the second round," Blue
Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella said during a conference call on
Columbus won seven of their final eight regular-season games to
squeak into the playoffs before winning four straight over a
Lightning team that had not lost more than two consecutive games
during the regular season.
By the time the Blue Jackets open their second round series on
Thursday against the host Bruins, who eliminated the Toronto Maple
Leafs in a decisive seventh game on Tuesday, they will have enjoyed
eight full days off.
But the long break, which may ultimately pay off given that the path
to a Stanley Cup championship requires a team to navigate four
grueling best-of-seven playoff series, also comes with its share of
"That's something we worked on here right on through the break and
time off is just our mental mindset in being ready to be playing our
next series," said Tortorella, who won a Stanley Cup as coach of the
Lightning in 2004.
"Don't worry about what happened, good or bad. No comparisons to
other teams. We are just hoping to go about our business and look
[to top of second column]
Columbus Blue Jackets center Alexandre Texier (42) celebrates
scoring an empty-net goal with teammates against the Tampa Bay
Lightning in the third period during game four of the first round of
the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit:
Aaron Doster/File Photo
The Blue Jackets got off to a slow start in their battle with the
Lightning and in the opening game of the series trailed 3-0 after
the first period.
And while Columbus impressively roared back with four goals to
secure the road win, Tortorella said his team cannot afford a
similar start when they open the series in Boston.
"We did not compete on any type of competitive standard in that
first period," said Tortorella, who has twice been named the NHL's
coach of the year. "We just looked a little nervous there so that
can't happen in this first period."
The Blue Jacket's victory over the Lightning was one of many
first-round upsets that opened the door for a possible surprise
Stanley Cup winner in June but Tortorella said his team are not
about to look beyond Boston.
"We haven't even talked about the Stanley Cup," said Tortorella.
"When the time comes, if we keep on playing at that certain time in
the Stanley Cup Final then I think you start talking about it."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)
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