National Hockey League

Blue Jackets advance after sweep of mighty Lightning

The Blue Jackets' goaltender stood tall, as he had the entire playoff series, turning away dangerous shots by Erik Cernak and Cedric Paquette in the last five minutes.

The Lightning pulled their goalie late, and the Blue Jackets opened the scoring spigot on the way to a 7-3 win and shocking four-game sweep of the NHL's best team.

"It's so much fun to play in this kind of atmosphere," said Bobrovsky after the Blue Jackets won in front of a raucous home crowd that had been waiting 18 years for the team to win a playoff series.

As the seconds ticked off what had turned into a rout because of empty-net goals, the Nationwide Arena crowd that had been standing for the entire third period roared even louder, and the players celebrated wildly, spilling from the bench onto the ice.

Columbus neutralized Lightning stars Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos with a smothering fore check that clogged scoring lanes and often turned into opportunities at the other end .

The Lightning were the highest-scoring team in the league by 20 goals this year and finished with 30 more than the Blue Jackets, who as the eighth seed were given little chance of winning the opening round.

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