There’s nothing quite like exorcising your demons. That’s exactly what the Tampa Bay Lightning did against the Columbus Blue Jackets during their Stanley Cup run. It ended in ultimate glory. It started with revenge. A win in five games over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The same Jackets that ousted the Bolts in a sweep the year prior.
After a stellar start to the season – two wins over the Chicago Blackhawks – the Lightning were hungry. Hungry to prove the series win over the Jackets was no fluke. To grab two more points and remain undefeated.
The challenge came after a long layoff. The Bolts had been off for six days due to a Dallas Stars COVID situation, so shaking off the rust would be key early on.
Right off the hop, one of the Bolts’ horses made a crucial error. Victor Hedman tried to pinch into the neutral zone and move the puck up ice. Instead, he turned it over and Max Domi set up Oliver Bjorkstrand. 21 seconds in it was 1-0 Columbus. A rare mistake from Hedman had Tampa Bay in a hole, and that aforementioned rust reared its ugly head in the early moments.
Jackets stave off minimal pressure
To his credit, Hedman was fabulous for the remainder of the stanza. He was himself. Jumping up into the rush at the perfect times to create offense.
The Lightning as a whole ended up playing a pretty solid period. They had two two-on-ones in the frame, one of which involved Brayden Point. He slid the puck to Ondrej Palat, who simply just ran out of real-estate. After failing to convert on their best two looks of the period, the Lightning headed to the locker room still down a goal.
Low event start
The beginning, and most of the second period was rather mundane and chance-less. Aside from some early pressure from the Stamkos line, and one notable net-front scramble in front of Joonas Korpisalo, there wasn’t all that much going on in period number two. That is, until Tampa Bay turned on the jets and got a defensive gem a milestone and then some.
The Bolts are no stranger to some pretty passing plays, and proved it late in the second.
First, it was a beautiful pass from Yanni Gourde to set up an absolute tap-in for Blake Coleman. The secondary assist was Ryan McDonagh’s 300th career NHL point, but he wasn’t done there.
He decided he wanted to get more involved and set up a second goal to give his team the lead, setting up Mathieu Joseph with a gorgeous dish to the slot. Joseph made no mistake, and just like that Tampa Bay had a 2-1 lead after forty minutes.
Quick-strike Blue Jackets
For the second time in three periods, the Jackets got on the board very quickly. After a Lightning penalty just 40 seconds into the frame, Columbus took only seven seconds to capitalize. Nick Foligno got the goal, but again it was Bjorkstrand making it happen, putting the puck to the net for the redirect.
Here we go again
After a crucial late penalty kill in a night full of them for the Lightning, we ended where these two rivals always seem to end up: overtime.
After a nifty move from Victor Hedman to create some space along the righ-hand wall, it was another deja-vu moment. Twice the hero in the playoffs last season against Columbus, Brayden Point finished it off at the left post to end the game. A gritty effort from the Bolts to come from behind early, then respond in the extra session for the win. They now move to 3-0-0 on the young season.
The Lightning and Jackets will clash once again on Saturday at Nationwide Arena.
Our three stars of the game
- Oliver Bjorkstrand: Bjorkstrand was dangerous all night long in a two point effort.
- Ryan McDonagh: 300 career points for about 90 seconds, because McDonagh added a second assist to a fabulous night of offensive creativity.
- Brayden Point: The OT hero once again, Point as always was in the thick of things offensively for the Lightning.
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