Prior to the game, Coach John Tortorella talked about wanting to dominate the crease on both offense and defense. He felt that against Calgary the team didn’t take enough close shots, and allowed too many. In the first period, the Jackets appeared to take this lesson to heart.
Columbus drew first blood just under four minutes into the game. Brandon Saad fed Alexander Wennberg in the slot, who took TWO (!) shots, scoring off his own rebound. Great to see Wennberg shooting the puck.
Five minutes later, the Jackets were on the power play and got one of those goals in the crease. Zach Werenski fired a shot from the blue line, which Cam Atkinson fed across the paint for Nick Foligno to send home. I love seeing the Captain get those kinds of goals. He excels on those types of hard-earned shots.
At the end of the first, Columbus led Tampa in shots, 10-4. It was a dominant period.
The second period was...not so dominant. It’s been a troubling trend to see the Jackets come out flat in the middle frame. You can’t afford that against a team as talented as Tampa. Columbus still led in shots that period, 13-9, but Tampa made the most of their opportunities.
At 8:33, Tyler Johnson rushed into the zone, with Werenski unable to stop his progress. A wrap-around feed was sent home by Nikita Kucherov...who should make Tampa fans feel better about losing Steven Stamkos.
The one bright spot of the second was the WYLD STALLYNS line scoring off that faceoff. Once again rushing the crease, Josh Anderson got credited with the goal.
Late in the second, the Lightning got a similar goal with a short range writers from Jason Garrison. It appeared that contact was made with Sergei Bobrovksy, but Torts chose not to challenge.
The third period started in a bad way with Ondrej Palat scoring on a delayed penalty. In the next shift, Josh Anderson started a scuffle in the front of the net, which led to him and Andrej Sustr getting sent off with matching roughing penalties. I don’t normally like fighting, but I think Columbus needed a spark like that. On the ensuing 4-on-4, Saad broke his 8 game goal drought off of a gorgeous feed from Wennberg.
Halfway through the third, Nick Foligno committed a weak hooking penalty. Late in the PK, Victor Hedman lost the puck and Cam Atkinson - aggressive as ever on the forecheck - gathered the puck and sent it in for the final goal of the night.
The Jackets weathered over four minutes of 6-on-5 at the end of the game, with Bob standing tall.
Columbus finished with a 38-28 shot advantage, and all Columbus players had a positive 5v5 Corsi. Five different Jackets scored.
My Three Stars:
Next Up: Back at it tomorrow night in South Florida against the Panthers. Assuming the OSU/Michigan game doesn’t kill me first.