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The Lightning’s five worst playoff moments

This year’s first-round sweep is Tampa Bay’s worst postseason. Which others rank in the bottom five?
Lightning fans Chris Danes (left) and Lisa Danes (right) watch the team try to rally in the final period against Columbus on Tuesday. (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)
Published Apr. 17
Updated Apr. 18

TAMPA — When Brayden Point notched the tying goal late in the second period Tuesday night, Lightning fans had a glimmer of hope.

But it was extinguished not even a minute later when Columbus scored, then the Blue Jackets went on a goal-scoring spree in the third period, finishing off the night with a 7-3 win to oust the Lightning from the postseason.

Moments like these make an impact. They’ll still be remembered decades later.

With that in mind, here are some of the worst playoff moments in franchise history:

Lightning-Blue Jackets, first round, 2019

The Lightning set records up and down the board, tying the NHL all-time wins record at 62 before the sweep by the Blue Jackets. Will fans remember Nikita Kucherov’s 128-point season? Steven Stamkos’ 392 career goals? The Lightning’s 319-goal season? Tampa Bay’s three 40-goal scorers? The Lightning’s 128 points? The 62 wins? 0-4 may overshadow them all.

Lightning-Capitals, Eastern Conference final, 2018

Tampa Bay bounced back from a two-game deficit at home and won its next two on the road. Game 5 seemed to be a turning point as the Lightning secured a 3-2 win to edge closer to the Stanley Cup Finals. But the next two games were shutouts ... by the Capitals, 3-0 in Game 6 and 4-0 in Game 7. And that last loss? Home ice. Ouch.

RELATED: Most disappointing moments in Tampa Bay sports history

Lightning-Blackhawks, Stanley Cup Finals, 2015

A special regular season was supposed to have an incredible postseason ending, the best since winning it all in 2004. The Lightning had the edge in this series with Chicago at 2-1, then lost the final three games, including Game 6, 2-0, on the road. The team that had scored more goals in the regular season than any other team was held to 10 total against the Blackhawks. The Lightning had not lost three in a row all regular season. Ben Bishop fought through a groin injury and Tyler Johnson battled with a broken wrist early in the series. A year after getting swept by the Canadiens, coach Jon Cooper said this series will “leave a scar, no doubt.”

Lightning-Canadiens, first round, 2014

This first-round sweep was predicated by an injury to Ben Bishop on April 8. His season was cut short when he injured his wrist, which required surgery, in a game against the Maple Leafs after he awkwardly jumped for a puck to make a save. The injury came less than a week before the regular season ended. The Lightning turned to backup goalie Anders Lindback, who gave up 14 goals on 118 shots in the playoffs.

Lightning-Bruins, Eastern Conference final, 2011

A grueling seven-game series came down to one play late in the third period. With just over seven and a half minutes left in the third period, Boston’s Nathan Horton made his way down the left side of the ice and toward the goal. He cut through traffic before he found himself standing inside the crease. Boston’s David Krejci shuffled a pass out from the left faceoff circle and Horton tapped in the puck with the toe of his stick right behind Tampa Bay’s Dwayne Roloson. Final score: 1-0 Boston.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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