The Jackets were again without their captain as the made their way to Tampa, in the first game after the Christmas break. The Lightning have not met expectations this season, but remain a dangerous offensive team that can really hurt you on the scoresheet if you give them the opportunity.
They did just that against the Jackets on Saturday night.
The Lightning scored the first goal of the game, a nasty redirect off the stick of former Jacket Mike Blunden up and over the pads of Columbus starter Joonas Korpisalo. The Jackets were able to quickly tie the game up, however, when Boone Jenner gathered a failed clearance in the Tampa zone, turned, and wired a shot toward the net, where it redirected off the skate of Rene Bourque.
Bourque had an excellent opening period, shooting from everywhere, playing the body, working the boards. If only he could do these things on a consistent basis.
The teams remained tied after the opening period.
The second is where things went to hell for the Jackets, but only after they took the lead. Brandon Saad, working behind the Tampa goal line, fed the puck to Dalton Prout at the point. Prout fired a shot toward the net, where it bounced off Alexander Wennberg, then Scott Hartnell before beating Ben Bishop.
The madness started with 15:04 left in the period. Dalton Prout was called for a cross-check, and on the ensuing faceoff Gregory Campbell was called for a faceoff violation when he used his hand to play the puck back. With the Jackets down five-on-three, off the next faceoff Jack Johnson was called for delay of game when he sent to the puck over the glass. For those of you still keeping count, that's three guys in the box, with Johnson's penalty starting when Prout's expired or if a goal was scored.
Parked in his office, Steven Stamkos tied the game with an off-balance shot. Classic Stamkos. With the teams still five-on-three, Stamkos scored again, from almost the same spot, giving his team a 3-2 lead.
That isn't even the best part. Minutes later, Bishop left his net to play the puck behind his net. While doing so Hartnell sighted him up, and flattened him with a check. Of course that got everyone on the ice excited.
Hartnell five-minute major for charging, ten-minute game misconduct.
Ryan Johansen and Vladislav Namestnikov dropped the gloves, five minutes each for scrapping.
Alex Killorn was given a roughing minor.
This put the teams four-on-four, with the balance of Hartnell's major running off after the Killorn minor expired. With 13 seconds left in the major, Ryan Callahan fed Nikita Nesterov pinching in from the point, who wired a shot past Korpisalo. 4-2 Lightning.
Curtis McElhinney came on to play the third period, and allowed a single goal to Jason Garrison. Aside from a scary collision between Johansen and Bourque, there's really not much left to say about this one.
FINAL SCORE: 5-2 Lightning
For the advanced stats for this game, check out War on Ice.
Jackets are back at it tomorrow against the Panthers.