Home stand proved to be kind for Tampa as they finish with a 5-1 record with a road trip following suit starting on Saturday. Brayden Point kept his goal streak going helping Tampa break through when the team desperately needed it. Anthony Cirelli reached a milestone as this marked 300 games played and Brian Elliott extended his win streak to 7 games. While the game started off sloppy for the Bolts, they came alive in the third period to take control of the game and preserve the victory.
4th line provides goal
Stepping on the gas pedal early was the Lightning offense with a couple of early shots on net. Quickly, Columbus answered back and nearly opened up the scoring in the early minutes. A total of 6 face-offs occurred during the first four minutes of the game. Then, Tampa opened up the scoring thanks to their 4th line. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare fired the puck past Danil Tarasov for his goal of the season giving the Bolts a 1-0 lead. Next, with 9:02 left in the period Tampa received the first power play of the game after Kent Johnson is called for hooking. On said power play Lightning nearly extended the lead but Tarasov made a superb play to keep the puck out of the net.
Power play not effective
Unfortunately, as the power play was set to expire Corey Perry commits a penalty giving Columbus their first chance on the man advantage. Neither team were able to score on the power play as the score remained 1-0 Lightning. Afterwards, Blue Jackets continued to apply pressure on the Bolts defense which Elliott was able to fend off. Cirelli nearly scored but was hooked by Tim Berni which potentially prevented the goal. As a result, Tampa received their second power play of the night and looked to extend the lead. Blue Jackets killed off the penalty keeping the score 1-0 with about 4 minutes to go in the first. Finally, first period ended with the Lightning keeping that 1-0 intact with some late chances to extend the lead in the closing minute.
Blue Jackets equalize
Starting off, period began choppy for the Lightning which Columbus looked to take advantage of. Following, Blue Jackets did just that as Krill Marchenko fired a puck past Elliott to tie the game 1-1. For the opening minutes of the period, it was Columbus who took command of the game opposite of what happened in the first period. On and on the Blue Jackets onslaught continued with Elliott remaining sturdy in net keeping the game tied. Later on, Columbus continued to control the flow of the game nullifying any opportunity for the Lightning to tip the scales.
In the late minutes of the period Tampa received their third power play of the night after Nick Paul was hooked. Tampa desperately needed a spark and a power play opportunity hoped to be that spark for the offense. While the power play provided Tampa with their best scoring chance of the period, they would end empty handed. Tarasov remained stellar in net as did Elliott keeping the game tied. Period would end with the score tied 1-1 heading into the final frame. Will the home stand on a high note or will Columbus play spoiler.
Point extends goal streak
Once again Tampa struggled to get the puck out of their zone to start the period. Unlike the second period it did not take long to control the puck and direct it out of harm’s way. Teams would exchange scoring chances, but neither could score as the game still remained deadlocked at 1-1. After a quiet third period Point woke up the crowd and gave the Bolts a 2-1 lead. The goal gives Point a 5-game goal streak and a much-needed spark for the offense. To add, the scoring would not end for Tampa. With 6:40 to go in the game Brandon Hagel scores to extend the lead 3-1.
Home stand ends promising
While it was not a pretty game for the Lightning, they managed to regain control of the game flow and slowly run away with it. Columbus could not generate many scoring chances in the final frame which allowed Tampa to captivate on scoring chances and seal the victory. Blue Jackets then pulled Tarasov which led to an empty net goal for the Bolts. Nikita Kucherov could have easily scored on the empty net but elected to pass it to Hagel instead. All in all, Lightning defeated the Blue Jackets 4-1 to end the home stand with a 5-1 record. Elliott extended his win streak to 7 games while Tampa extended the win streak to 4 games.
Three stars of the game
1st Star: Brayden Point – 1 goal (Game-winning goal)
2nd Star: Brian Elliott – Saved 28 of 29 shots faced
3rd Star: Nikita Kucherov – 3 assists
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