Blue Jackets skate past Lightning 5-3
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets started and finished fast against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Brandon Saad broke a tie with at 4:34 of the third period and Cam Atkinson added a short-handed goal to lift the Blue Jackets to 5-3 victory over a team that had beaten them in six of their preceding seven meetings.
“I liked all parts of our game other than the final 3-4 minutes of the second period,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “I thought we played a complete game.”
Early goals by Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno put the Blue Jackets (11-5-3) ahead for the entire game except for a 57-second stretch of the final period. The loss was only the second for the Lightning (13-8-1) in their last seven games.
“We play 82 games, chalk one up to a stinker,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. “We got taught a lesson tonight by a team that worked way harder than us. I know it was 3-3, but the right team won the hockey game.”
Wennberg’s fourth goal of the season was assisted by Saad and Jack Johnson. Foligno made it 2-0 with his team-leading eighth goal on a power play just 8:35 into the game.
Columbus dominated the first period, taking 10 shots to the Lightning’s four and nearly taking a 3-0 lead when a shot by Johnson went off Ben Bishop’s shoulder and deflected off the post in the 14th minute.
“We played really good in the first period, and I think they wanted to come back so they got some momentum,” Wennberg said. “But I felt like we didn’t give them too many chances.”
The Lightning didn’t get a power-play opportunity until the middle of the third period and were outshot, 38-28.
Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning, his 11th goal of the season, with 12:33 left in the second period, but Josh Anderson answered quickly to regain a 3-1 Columbus lead.
After Josh Garrison made it 3-2 with 1:32 left in the second, Ondrej Palat tied it 3-3 with a delayed-penalty goal with 16:23 left. But Saad regained the lead for Columbus with 15:26 remaining, and Atkinson scored his short-handed goal with 8:47 left.
NOTES: Columbus entered the game with the NHL’s best power play, scoring 28.6 percent of the time. . . . Kucherov, who scored his first career goal against Philadelphia on Wednesday night, has now scored goals against every team in the NHL except the Lightning. . . . Columbus placed LW Matt Calvert (upper body) on injured reserve . . . The Blue Jackets called up C Justin Scott from Cleveland of the American Hockey League. ...D Anton Stralman (upper body) and RW J.T. Brown (upper body) did not play for the Lightning.
Columbus: The Blue Jackets play their third game in four nights at Florida on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay: The Lightning play Sunday at Boston before traveling to Columbus for a rematch Tuesday night.