The Washington Capitals entered their first round playoff series against Columbus as a heavy favorite to advance to the next round.
Apparently, no one told the Blue Jackets.
Columbus used back-to-back overtime wins to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, and now head home to Nationwide Arena for the next two games.
If they can win in Columbus on Tuesday and Thursday, it would be the Jackets’ first playoff series win in franchise history.
“Bring earplugs, you might not even be able to hear the cannon,” says Aaron Portzline, who covers the Blue Jackets for the website The Athletic.
By the "cannon," he means the team’s iconic cannon that fires after every goal.
Scoring has not been a problem for Columbus so far. They’ve netted at least four goals in the series’ first two games. But Portzline says the real difference this year is the performance of star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who’s played some of the worst hockey of his career in previous playoff games.
“He looks like his best self again,” Portzline says. “It’s not a matter of them trying to win despite their goaltender. It’s them planning to win now behind their goaltender because he looks like a very, very comfortable player.”
After the Sunday night win, Jackets head coach John Tortorella called Bobrovsky’s performance "one of the best goaltending performances" he's seen in quite some time.
“It gives us an opportunity to stay in the game. When they surged, he made some key saves at some key times,” Tortorella said.
The winner of the Columbus-Washington series takes on the winner of the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series. Pittsburgh currently leads that series 2-1.