John Tortorella led the Tampa Bay Lightning to their lone Stanley Cup title in 2004.
And now the coach’s current team is trying to make sure the overwhelming favorite doesn’t win a second one.
The Columbus Blue Jackets built a 3-0 lead on the way to a stunning 5-1 rout Friday night that gave them a 2-0 series lead against the record-tying, 62-win Lightning.
And the Lightning could be without their best player because of a questionable hit as they try to get back in the series.
The Blue Jackets were outscored 17-3 in losing all three meetings to Tampa Bay during the regular season. But that was before they acted boldly at the trade deadline.
Rather than trying to get assets for pending free agents Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, they held on to them and went after unrestricted free agents-to-be Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel.
And Duchene was the star of Game 2, scoring a goal and adding three assists. Panarin had a goal and assist. Bobrovsky made 23 saves and has been solid in the series since a shaky first period in Game 1.
The Blue Jackets fought back from a 3-0 deficit to win Game 1. They dominated throughout Game 2.
And once they had the lead, they played solid defense, keeping the Lightning from pressing the attack. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, all 40-goal scorers, have no points in the series and are a combined -7.
Kucherov was kicked out of the game for boarding and could be looking at NHL discipline.
The Lightning do have a glimmer of hope. The Blue Jackets have never won a playoff series, and last year, they blew a 2-0 series lead against the eventual champion Washington Capitals.
But the Capitals kept that series close, losing Games 1 and 2 at home in overtime. The Lightning will need to figure out how to get back to their regular-season success, starting Sunday night in Columbus, if they are to avoid one of the NHL’s biggest upsets.