After stealing a victory from the Panthers on Thursday night, the Jackets were in Tampa tonight to face the NHL-leading Lightning. The goaltending matchup featured Sergei Bobrovsky against Ben Bishop.
The Jackets opened the scoring just 2:37 into the game, when after some casual play by the Lightning in their end, the puck made its way to Boone Jenner's stick at the left faceoff dot. Boone took a weak shot, which fooled Bishop.
1-0 Jackets: Boone Jenner - Matt Calvert
Cam Atkinson took a holding penalty at 4:52, which was killed by the Jackets. Their penalty kill has been an issue this season, but on this night the kill was a particular strength.
The Jackets spent most of the first period dictating the pace, winning battles and making smart plays with the puck. The effort was certainly there and it was clear that the Jackets were throwing the Lightning off their game.
One big takeaway from the first period was the play of Kerby Rychel. He looks like an NHLer, and was making smart, simply plays while showing a good level of hustle. I wouldn't be surprised if he remains with the team for the rest of the season. His versatility and ability to play physical allows him to slot in anywhere in the lineup.
At 12:25 former Jacket Anton Stralman was called for interference. On the ensuing powerplay, David Savard gave the team a two-goal lead when his shot from the right dot snuck through Bishop's gear.
2-0 Jackets: David Savard - Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson
Savard has cemented himself as an important member of the Columbus blueline corps, while locking himself in as the QB of the second powerplay unit.
Brian Gibbons almost made it 3-0 a few moments later when he had a clear breakaway on Bishop. Gibbons' shot was fought off by Bishop, who was having difficulty with the puck all night. It'll come for Gibbons- his effort has been there of late and he's had chances.
The Jackets finished the period on the powerplay, but were unable to convert with Jonathan Drouin in the box.
The Jackets continued to dictate the pace and flow of the game throughout the second period.
There was no scoring, but there were a handful of powerplay chances. With 6:30 left in the frame, Ondrej Palat was whistled for interference. The Jackets were unable to get set up in the offensive zone. At the end of the powerplay Brian Gibbons was high-sticked by Radko Gudas, but there was no call.
Seconds later, Dalton Prout was called for interference himself, but as Ben Bishop left the ice on the delayed penalty, he touched the puck leading to a too-many-men call, putting the teams four-on-four.
Bob made a terrific save while four-on-four, one of his many on the evening. He was completely dialed-in, looking very much like Vezina Bob.
The teams went four-on-four to end the period when Prout and Ryan Callahan mixed it up near the Columbus net, with each player receiving a cross-checking minor.
The Jackets came out again with lots of jump, a vast improvement over last game. Some of that spark was lost when at 2:42 of the third, Jack Skille was called for tripping. This was a crucial kill for the CBJ, and they were more than up to the task- Jenner, Cam and Gibbons were especially effective in preventing the Lightning from gaining any momentum. The kill was great overall tonight.
Just as the Skille penalty ended, Scott Hartnell made an excellent play to fire a bank pass cross-ice and off the boards, where Michael Chaput was there to receive it. Chaput passed to a streaking Skille, who passed the puck cross-crease to Chaput. It would have been an easy tap-in for Chaput, but the puck went off the stick of a back checking Nikita Kucherov.
3-0 Jackets: Jack Skille - Michael Chaput, Scott Hartnell
A Matt Carle interference penalty bore no fruit, but it could have been bad for the Jackets if they were on the defensive side of the puck, as Savard and Jack Johnson both broke their sticks making simple passes within seconds of each other.
Bishop was pulled with 3:39 left. Boone and Nick Foligno each nearly missed the open net. On the way for a line change, Calvert and Alex Killorn mixed it up by the benches, and were given matching minors. With the Lightning up five-on-four, Bob lost his shutout when Kucherov beat him after some bang-bang passing.
Johansen hit the post with the net still open, but the Jackets held on.
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Jackets
- Bob was classic Bob tonight. A damned effing shame he couldn't get the shutout.
- David Savard man, he's really blossoming.
- Jack Skille led the team with four shots, was showcasing his speed, and was overall very effective.
- Jack Johnson played 27:23 tonight. Insane.
- The Lightning third sweaters would be great if they actually had a logo on them.
- Ryan Johansen had an off game. No shots, didn't look particularly dangerous, was a -1 with a giveaway. This doesn't happen often, so we'll have a short memory with this one.
- Real bummer on the shutout thing.