Frustrating perfectly sums up Tuesday’s 4-2 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite outshooting Columbus, Tampa Bay failed to break their scoring slump. Columbus played well defensively and blocked lots of shots. The Lightning played well for most of this game, but didn’t get any puck luck and had some timely breakdowns. Tampa Bay has now dropped 5 of their last 7.
A Frustrating trend continued for the Lightning in this to Columbus. The Bolts went their eighth straight game scoring three goals or less. Most of the top six forwards are struggling to score. Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point have just three points in the last eight games. In that span Alex Killorn has just one, and Ondrej Palat five. Yanni Gourde has none in his last six. All of them would go without points Tuesday. Tampa’s only goals were scored by Ross Colton, who continues to impress, and a garbage time tally by Luke Schenn.
Columbus is a Frustrating team.
The Lightning have played the Blue Jackets a ton over the last few years and it has become a divisional rivalry. Going back to the infamous Jackets sweep in 2019 and the five game series last year, Tampa Bay knows all too well how hard it is to play Columbus. That being said, Columbus is not the team you want to play when you’re struggling offensively. They play sound and structured defensively and are opportunistic on offense. Which is exactly how they played. The Blue Jackets blocked 14 shots and killed off all four of Tampa Bay’s powerplays. Joonas Korpisalo made 36 saves including many high danger scoring chances. Playing to save their season the Columbus Blue Jackets put forth a stingy defense effort frustrating the Lightning’s offense.
Domi and Roslovic factor in offensively as Lightning breakdown
Max Domi helpedlead the way offensively for Jackets. Since coming to Columbus in a trade during the offseason, Domi has struggled offensively. However he came up big tonight notching a goal and an assist. The assist came on the opening goal. Domi was able to feed a streaking Zac Dalpe in the slot due to a missed assignment by Tyler Johnson. He would then score the GWG in the third period on the powerplay. Jack Roslovic would also pick up a goal and an assist, scoring the only goal in the second period. This came because of a mishandled puck by new defenseman Ben Thomas and the charging forecheck of Cam Atkinson. Atkinson was able to bat the mishandled puck to Rosolivic who was able to fire top shelf. He would also pick up a powerplay assist on Domi’s game-winner.
Lightning’s Penalty Issues.
The Lightning got themselves into penalty trouble again Tuesday night, adding to the frustrations. Tampa Bay took five penalties, including two back to back early in the third period when the game was still in reach. The second of which cost them any chance of a comeback. Domi’s hard shoot would skip off the stick of Victor Hedman and into the top corner past Vasilevskiy. Despite playing well on the penalty kill and even getting some shorthanded chances, they took just one too many.
Up Next…. Trust the Process.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will get another shot at Columbus on Thursday. After Tuesday’s loss, they are now 3rd in the division behind Florida and Carolina but are in firm control of their playoff spot. Columbus will again be desperate and fighting to save their season. Despite losing the first of the set 4-2, the Lightning did not play bad. They outshot Columbus, and had numerous grade-A chances. Besides the two breakdowns the defense didn’t give Columbus a ton to work with 5-on-5. As coach Jon Cooper has echoed over the years, “Trust the process, not the result”. This Lightning team is very talented and knows what it takes to be good. Not to mention they’ve been shorthanded on defense. Adversity hits every team in some shape or form every year. This team will have to find a way to respond to this year’s adversity.
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