A close look at the underlying numbers of the Blue Jackets and the Lightning. The first thing that jumps out is Columbus's poor powerplay. They have turned that around, but more on that later. Over the course of the season, Tampa Bay put up some ridiculous numbers. They are solid everywhere. The only category not at the top of the league- 5v5 defence. But still, the Bolts top the Blue Jackets in every category.
'What have you done for me lately?'
If you believe in momentum, then you'll want to look at what the team has done entering the postseason. In the last 10 games of the season (right side), the Bolts have let up slightly in all categories, but most alarming is on the D-side of the puck, where the PK has dipped, their ability to defend while leading deteriorated and their 5v5 defence slid considerably. But they still posted 7 wins.
In the Blue Jacket's last 10 games, they posted the same number of wins as the Bolts, but did it with impressive underlying numbers. The offence, including the PP, was cranked up. But more significantly, the defensive game reached 'playoff' intensitiy. The numbers back that up.
So what can we expect? This is hockey. Expect the unexpected.