After the madness that was Game 1, one may think both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets would play with little to no energy at all. This would prove to be true for the blue line of the Lightning as the game went on, but both the Lightning and Blue Jackets showed the players were ready to go out there and light the lamp.
Tampa looked to take a commanding 2-0 series lead, but the Blue Jackets would have answers to prevent the Lightning from winning and allow them to even the series. Tampa’s offense looked solid to start, but the goaltending of Joonas Korpisalo became a roadblock that the Lightning could not get past. Tampa would get no help from the defense either as Columbus would take advantage of a tired Bolts team to even the series in Game 2.
Bolts take command, but fall behind in the first frame
As a team, the Lightning showed poise, and for the first half of the period, took total control of the game. Tampa Bay would light the lamp first thanks to a wrist shot by Nikita Kucherov. The defense looked strong early on by holding the Blue Jackets to no shots on goal until midway through the period. Pierre-Luc Dubois would then feed a pass to Ryan Murray, who would then quickly shoot it past Andrei Vasilevskiy for the equalizer. Late in the period, Erik Cernak would take an unfortunate penalty that the Blue Jackets would soon take advantage of. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored on the power play to put Columbus ahead 2-1.
Blue Jackets and Lightning goaltenders stand tall in the second period
The second period became a strong goalie battle as the Lightning struggled to find an answer to Korpisalo. Vasilevski, along with the Bolts’ defense, helped keep the Blue Jackets’ offense from scoring in the period as well. Neither team could get their offenses going as the second period turned into a defensive battle. For the Lightning however, the defense showed their signs of fatigue that would become apparent in the third period.
Silent offense and non-existent defense doom the Lightning
The third period is one the Lightning defense would like to put past them. The fatigue from the game prior finally took its toll on Tampa as the energy from the start of the game would suddenly vanish. Miscues on defense eventually gave Columbus the opening needed to secure the victory in Game 2. The Lightning offense still could not answer Korpisalo despite some solid scoring chances throughout the period. With less than 10 minutes to go, Alexander Wennberg took advantage, extending the lead to 3-1 on a fantastic solo effort that ended up being the final goal of the afternoon. As a result, the Blue Jackets took Game 2, evening the series 1-1. A handufl of defensive breakdowns ended up being the Achilles’ heel for the Lightning.
Game 3 takes place in Toronto at 7:30 pm this Saturday.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star: Joonas Korpisalo – Saved 36 of 37 shots faced
2nd Star: Pierre-Luc Dubois – Two assists
3rd Star: Alexander Wennberg – One goal
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