TAMPA-- Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves & five different Blue Jackets scored goals, as Columbus beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Friday night to take a 2-0 first round series lead.
Tampa Bay, who scored 325 goals during the regular season, looked to even the series before hitting the road for Game Three. Meanwhile, Columbus, who scored four goals in the final 30 minutes of Game One, was hoping to take a two games to nothing lead back home. And with just over five minutes gone in the first period, Columbus scored their fifth straight goal of the series & first of the game when forward Cam Atkinson redirected a shot by center Matt Duchene underneath the arm of Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy & over the goal line.
Trailing one to nothing & haven't not scored since the first period of Game One, the Lightning could not muster any quality scoring chances. And after a hooking penalty on forward Ondrej Palat, the Lightning were down a man. And just four seconds into their man advantage, the Blue Jackets made it two to nothing when a wrist shot from the point by defenseman Zack Werenski went high over Vasilevskiy's glove & into the net.
Throughout the remaining eight minutes of the first period, the Lightning tried to put pressure on the Blue Jackets by out-hitting the visitors & totaled 21 hits in the first 20 minutes of the game. But the period ended with Bobrovsky facing minimal scoring threats.
Less than a minute into the second period, Tampa Bay was again down a man after Alex Killorn was called for interference in their offensive zone. And with the Tampa Bay center in the penalty box, Duchene was again part of the scoring action when his shot beat Vasilevskiy, giving Columbus their second power play goal of the game.
Columbus outshot Tampa Bay seven to five in the middle period but desperate to get their first goal of the game, the Lightning mounted some pressure on Bobrovsky & even had a shot hit the post.
Exactly five minutes into the third period, the Lightning finally broke through when a shot by defenseman Mikhail Sergachev from the point deflected low off of Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara & past Bobrovsky, making the score 3-1. And less than a minute after getting their first goal in four periods, the Lightning went on the power play but were unable to get their second goal.
Leading now by two goals, Columbus made it a three goal lead again when center Riley Nash skated up to the blue line & entered the offensive zone then fired a shot high over Vasilevskiy to his blocker side, making the score 4-1. And the scoring ended after a tic tac toe play was finished with center Artemi Panarin pushing the puck into an empty net.
Following the goal by Panarin, the Lightning frustration came through with less than five minutes left in the game when forward Nikita Kucherov was called for a five minute boarding plus a game misconduct for hitting a player in the head. Kucherov's hit may cause the Art Ross Trophy to be suspended for Game Three.
Tampa Bay will pack its bag hoping to get back into the series on Sunday night, when the two teams play Game Three in Columbus. Coverage begins with the pregame on News Radio WFLA at 6:30 & puck is scheduled to be dropped at 7pm.
1.CLS- Atkinson 1st (Duchene)- 5:15
2. PPG- CLS- Werenski 1st (Duchene)- 11:44
1. PPG- CLS- Duchene 1st (Panarin, Werenski)- 1:28
1. TBL- Sergachev 1st (Miller, Cernak)- 5:00
2. CLS- Nash 1st (Jenner)- 9:08
3. CLS- Panarin 1st (Duchene, Bjorkstrand)- 12:15
1. TBL- Erne (Delay Of Game-Puuck Over The Glass 2 Mins)- 7:08
2. TBL- Palat (Hooking 2 Mins)- 11:40
3. TBL- Point (Fighting 5 Mins)- 15:11
4. CLS- Werenski (Fighting 5 Mins)- 15:11
1. TBL- Killorn (Intereference 2 Mins)- 0:30
2. CLS- Bench (Too Many Men On The Ice 2 Mins)- 4:21
1. CLS- Foligno (Tripping 2 Mins)- 5:51
2. TBL- Kucherov (Tripping 2 Mins)- 15:43
3. TBL- Kucherov (Boarding 5 Mins)- 15:34
4. TBL- Kucherov (Game Misnconduct)- 15:34
5. TBL- Hedman (Misconduct 10 Mins)- 15:34
6. CLS- Anderson (Roughing 2 Mins)- 15:34
7. CLS- Anderson (Misconduct 10 Mins)- 15:34