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Blue Jackets Fail to Make Comeback Against Lightning

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning

The Columbus Blue Jackets did not manage a comeback when they faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday. 

The Blue Jackets were missing key players – Boone Jenner, David Savard and Riley Nash. Jenner is expected to be out for six weeks following finger surgery. Jenner was hit by a shot from teammate Patrik Laine in Tuesday’s game. Savard was a healthy scratch. 

Lightning lead 3-0 in the first period

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning
Image courtesy of NHL.com

The Lightning scored the game’s first three goals, beginning about one minute into the first period. Blake Coleman scored a goal against Blue Jackets’ goaltender Joonas Korpisalo assisted by Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow. 

Then, about five and a half minutes Blue Jackets’ captain, Nick Foligno, took a penalty for tripping against Ondrej Palat, causing the first power play of the game.

Very early on in the power play, the Lightning’s captain, Steven Stamkos, scored his 17th goal – 10th power play goal – of the season. Victor Hedman and Palat recorded assists on the goal.

Not long after, Goodrow scored a goal of his own assisted by Coleman and Gourde, bringing the score to 3-0.

Following Goodrow’s goal, Blue Jackets’ goaltender Elvis Merzlikins went in to relieve Korpisalo. 

The Lightning’s Ryan McDonagh and the Blue Jackets’ Jack Roslovic collided with linesman Trent Knorr, who later left the ice and did not return for the rest of the game. The remaining three officials continued on by themselves.

Later in the first period, Merzlikins, Columbus goaltender, recorded his first career regular season assist on a goal from Michael Del Zotto. Merzlikins came out of the crease to pass the puck up to Roslovic who took the puck in and passed to Del Zotto, who tossed it over Andrei Vasilevskiy’s glove to score his third goal of the season.

Tampa Bay scored another goal at the very end of the first period. McDonagh scored five-hole on Merzlikins on a rebounded blocked shot. Coleman and Gourde recorded assists on the goal.

The first period ended with the Lightning leading 4-1. “I don’t think we played poorly,” said Del Zotto during the intermission. “The score doesn’t reflect how that [period] was, in my opinion.”

Ross Colton scored his sixth goal of the season assisted by Tyler Johnson and Pat Maroon, about five minutes into the second period. This increased Tampa Bay’s lead to 5-1.

The Blue Jackets answered with only three minutes left in the second period. With assists from Mikhail Grigorenko and Cam Atkinson, Roslovic shot the puck right up behind the crossbar. The puck immediately bounced back out of the goal, causing there to be a very slight delay in recognition of the goal. 

The Lightning, however, answered Roslovic’s goal with only a minute left in the period. McDonagh scored another goal by sniping a shot through a couple skaters and seemingly right between Merzlikins’s arm and torso. Assists were earned by both Goodrow and Gourde, who ended the night with four assists.

Plenty of penalties

Columbus’s coaching staff challenged this goal, alleging that a high stick hit the puck in the play leading to the goal. Upon review, officials declared the goal good and called a minor bench penalty on the Blue Jackets for delay of game. Roslovic served the two minutes for this penalty.

The Lightning then began the third period with about 56 seconds of a power play.

They then received another power play when the Blue Jackets Alexandre Texier took a penalty for slashing against Victor Hedman. Texier had been shoved a bit by a different Lightning player, turned around and made contact with Hedman’s stick with his own.

The penalties continued, as the Blue Jackets’ Stefan Matteau and the Lightning’s Cal Foote dropped their gloves, following Matteau’s hit on Sergachev that knocked him into the air and onto the ground. Foote and Matteau both took five-minute major penalties for fighting. Officials gave Foote both two-minute and 10-minute additional instigator penalties. Foote returned to the locker room and Maroon served the two-minute penalty.

With about 10 minutes left in the game, Zach Werenski scored a goal assisted by Roslovic and Texier. 

Shortly after, the Lightning scored a goal that was subsequently recalled. Officials decided that Alex Killorn interfered with Merzlikins ability to goaltend.

The Blue Jackets scored the last goal of the game, but did not manage to complete a comeback. Max Domi scored the Blue Jackets’ last goal assisted by Oliver Bjorkstrand and Dean Kukan. 

With about 45 seconds left in the game, Merzlikins left the net so the Blue Jackets could add an extra attacker. Despite the advantage, the Blue Jackets spent much of the end of the third period preventing empty net goals.

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