Heading into the month of February, it was completely fair to say...
Blue Jackets Blow Out Bolts 5-1
The Tampa Bay Lightning would enter to Columbus looking to break their two game losing streak and return the favor to a Columbus Blue Jackets team who started their losing streak in Tampa only four days ago.
The Blue Jackets would open the first period picking up where they left off in Tampa by establishing an aggressive forecheck in the Lightning offensive zone. The early Columbus pressure Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman would attempt a back check and take out his own player Valtteri Filppula leading to a Blue Jackets 2 on 1 break led by Ryan Murray and William Karlsson. Murray would feed Karlsson with a clean pass and he would bury it past Lightning goaltender’s far side to give Columbus an early 1-0 lead. The Lightning would go the entire first ten minutes of the 1st period without a shot on goal. The first shot would come after a sloppy Columbus tripping penalty by Boone Jenner which gave the Lightning a man advantage. Tampa would have a couple of chances on the power play but were unable to beat Blue Jackets net minder Sergei Bobrovsky as their first power play expired. Filppula would take the Lightning’s first penalty of the game with a tripping penalty of his own setting up Columbus’s first man advantage of the night late in the 1st period. The Blue Jackets would continue to pressure Vasilevskiy during the man advantage but were unable to extend their lead as the penalty expired and the 1st period came to an end. Columbus would head to the locker room with a 1-0 lead, which felt almost like a disappointment for them due to how badly they outplayed the Lightning in the period. The Blue Jackets would maintain a 16-6 shots on goal advantage after one period of play.
The second period would start the same way as the previous period, with the Blue Jackets dominating forecheck giving the Lightning all kinds of problems. Tampa would turn the puck over in the neutral zone multiple times, until Columbus center Alexander Wennberg would blast one of those turnovers past Vasilevskiy giving the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead early in the 2nd period. The Lightning finally appeared to get on the scoreboard off a rebound, but it was quickly waved off by the refs due to Tampa forward Ondrej Palat being ruled to have prevented Bobrovsky from playing the puck without being interfered with. Replays would clearly show Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson as the player interfering with his own goalie. Bolts coach Jon Cooper would use his challenge in what would seem as a clear reversal for Tampa’s first goal. However, the league would disagree and inexplicably uphold the ruling on the ice of no goal; keeping the Blue Jackets at a 2-0 lead early in the 2nd period. Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov would continue his weird trend of passing up shots throughout the 2nd period as the Blue Jackets would appear to start sagging off of him anticipating his passes and basically daring him to shoot. As the Lightning would continue to fear shooting the puck, the Blue Jackets would have no similar such problem as Josh Anderson would beat Vasilevskiy for a goal extending the Columbus lead to 3-0 late in the 2nd period. Tampa’s Alex Killorn would get a beautiful chance late in the period as he would get a breakaway all alone but would send the shot over the Columbus net symbolizing the Lightning’s night in a single play. Columbus would take their 3-0 lead into the 2nd intermission and were in complete control for their second straight matchup with the Lightning. The Blue Jackets would also continue their shots on goal advantage 27-13 after two periods of play.
The Lightning would show a brief spark to open the third period as Nikita Kucherov nearly made it a two goal game but he would slide his shot through the crease instead of into the net. After that first shift it was back to being dominated for Tampa at the hands of Columbus. Scott Hartnell would extend the lead to 4-0, and Sam Gagner would a really soft goal past Vasilevskiy making it a commanding 5-0 lead midway thru the 3rd period. Filppula would score a late meaningless goal to break up the shut out and make the game 5-1 which would be the final score. The Columbus Blue Jackets would hand the Lightning their 3rd straight loss as they destroying the Bolts for the 2nd time this season. The Bolts would get out shot 38-27 for the game.
The Lightning would drop to 13-10-1, and 27 points. The Blue Jackets would go to 12-5-4, for 28 points on the year.
The Lightning will continue their road trip Thursday night December 1st when they head to St. Louis to take on the St. Louis Blues beginning at 8:00 pm.
MY THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1st Star: William Karlsson– He would open the game’s scoring, and draw a key penalty on the Lightning stemming the tide of any momentum they were trying to put together.
2nd Star: Josh Anderson– He would net an assist on the opening goal, and bury the game’s third goal to essentially shut the door on any Lightning comeback.
3rd Star: Sergei Brobovsky– Someone has to get the 3rd star. The goalie would play well but was barely tested all night facing only 27 shots and stopping 26 of them, many of which came well after the game was already decided. He faced a Lightning club who appeared allergic to shooting the puck. He would allow a goal the refs would help stop for him, but in the end he did exactly what team’s want their goalies to do, stop shots.