By Budd Bailey

The Columbus Blue Jackets really did shock the world on Tuesday night – or at least the hockey-watching part of it.

The Blue Jackets finished off an almost amazing sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay had one of the great regular seasons in recent years, going 62-18-4 for 128 points. Columbus went 47-31-4 for 98 points, only good for fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. But the Blue Jackets had gone all in at the trade deadline in an attempt to win now, and the moves paid off.

What’s more, Columbus won its first playoff series … ever. It’s hard to put a price tag on what that means to the franchise.

The Blue Jackets became the last active franchise to actually win a playoff series. Columbus entered the league in 2000, so this was season No. 19 in its history. The wait is over.

Let’s see how long it took the various teams to get that first playoff series win:

Columbus – 19th season
Winnipeg – 18th season
New Jersey – 14th season
Nashville – 12th season
Tampa Bay – 11th season
Washington – 9th season
Carolina – 7th season
Detroit – 7th season
Arizona – 6th season
Ottawa – 6th season
Philadelphia – 6th season
Buffalo – 5th season
Chicago – 5th season
Vancouver – 5th season
Anaheim – 4th season
Boston – 3rd season
Colorado – 3rd season
Florida – 3rd season
Minnesota – 3rd season
N.Y. Islanders – 3rd season
Pittsburgh – 3rd season
San Jose – 3rd season
Calgary – 2nd season
Dallas – 2nd season
Edmonton – 2nd season
Los Angeles – 2nd season
N.Y. Rangers – 2nd season
Montreal – 1st season
St. Louis – 1st season
Toronto – 1st season
Vegas – 1st season

The Jets left the list just last year; some of that drought took place while the franchise was in Atlanta. A reminder – the Sabres made the playoffs in their third season, but beat someone in the fifth.

Now, let’s take a look at the reverse of that. When was the last time a team won a playoff series? The Blue Jackets and Islanders top the list for the moment.

Columbus – 2019
N.Y. Islanders – 2019 (previous win – 2016)
Boston – 2018
Nashville – 2018
Pittsburgh – 2018
San Jose – 2018
Tampa Bay – 2018
Vegas – 2018
Washington – 2018
Winnipeg – 2018
Anaheim – 2017
Edmonton – 2017
N.Y. Rangers – 2017
Ottawa – 2017
St. Louis – 2017
Dallas – 2016
Calgary – 2015
Chicago – 2015
Minnesota – 2015
Montreal – 2015
Los Angeles – 2014
Detroit – 2013
Arizona – 2012
New Jersey – 2012
Philadelphia – 2012
Vancouver – 2011
Carolina – 2009
Colorado – 2008
Buffalo – 2007
Toronto – 2004
Florida – 1996

The Sabres may have gone the longest without qualifying for the playoffs, but they are not in the basement here thanks to the Maple Leafs and Panthers.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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