Tampa Bay ended their winless streak with the help of Brayden Point ending his dry spell against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It seemed like the early puck troubles would haunt the Lightning, but the offense sparked at the right time. From there, the Lightning looked for a comeback and a much needed win in front of the fans at Amalie Arena.
Numerous times in the opening period, the Lightning could not clear the puck out of the zone. Despite the constant turnovers, the Blue Jackets could not capitalize on the mishaps caused by Tampa Bay. The turnovers gave Columbus plenty of scoring chances. The Blue Jackets however, were unable to take advantage of the Lightning mishaps and the game remained scoreless. Later on in the period, the Lightning went on the power play after Alexander Texier was called for holding. Columbus had a solid short handed opportunity, but Andrei Vasilevskiy made a series of saves to prevent the puck from going in.
Ending the dry spell
Immediately after the shorthanded breakaway, Columbus was called for too many men giving the Lightning a 5 on 3 opportunity. Officials reviewed the play to see if the puck crossed the goal line but the call on the ice was confirmed. Afterwards, the Lightning opened up the scoring with a power play goal from Brayden Point. The goal ended a 4 game dry spell for Point. The Bolts looked to improve their puck possession heading into the second period.
Unlike the first period, the Bolts offense played more poised than the start of the game. Minutes in, Nick Foligno was called for holding and Mathieu Joseph was called for embellishment causing two minutes of 4-on-4 action. The Blue Jackets controlled the puck for a majority of the penalty time, but still could not find an answer. Columbus eventually did find an answer thanks to defensman Zach Werenski. This was the momentum the Blue Jackets were craving, and the misplays caught up to the Lightning.
Defenders can be goalies too
The Blue Jackets then went on the power play late in the period after Alex Killorn was called for slashing. Just when Boone Jenner thought he had a sure goal, Victor Hedman made a spectacular stick save to rob him of the goal. The Bolts would end the period with a power play after Liam Foudy tripped Point. Both Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point had great shots on net, but both were denied by the post. Tampa Bay would have 34 seconds left on the man advantage to start the third period.
The third period of play saw a more controlled Lightning team. The Blue Jackets kept the same pressure going, but the Bolts learned from their mistakes to slow down the tempo of the game. Both teams would exchange some solid chances before the Blue Jackets pulled ahead with the lead. Eric Robinson backhanded a bouncing puck past Vasy on a breakaway to give the Blue Jackets the 2-1 lead with almost half the period remaining.
Finding a way to comeback
Just when Columbus thought the game was going their way, Ross Colton whipped the puck past Elvis Merzlikins to tie the game at 2 with just over 5 minutes remaining. Afterwards, Brayden Point gave the Bolts a go-ahead goal that would bounce off a Blue Jackets defender before going in. For the Lightning, it was a much needed 3-2 victory that snapped their 3 game losing streak. For Point, breaking the drought was a sigh of relief after not registering a point in the previous four games. Next up for the Lightning is a home clash against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Three stars of the game
1st Star: Brayden Point – 2 goals (ended 4 game dry spell)
2nd Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Saved 36 of 38 shots faced
3rd Star: Ross Colton – Game-tying goal
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