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Lightning cruise past Blue Jackets

It was ugly.

NHL: APR 08 Lightning at Blue Jackets Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Important games at Nationwide Arena with a looming trade deadline, playoff positioning up for grabs, and lots to figure out between now and the end of the regular season.

Coming in off the heels of a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets looked to complete a familiar sweep of the defending Stanley Cup Champions on Thursday night from Nationwide Arena.

The goaltenders were Joonas Korpisalo for Columbus against Andrei Vasilivesky for the Lightning. Just 58 seconds into the game, Tampa Bay struck first. Blake Coleman’s eighth was assisted by Barclay Goodrow and Yanni Gourde on a two-on-one.

Gourde whiffed on an empty net chance to put Tampa Bay up a pair.

But fear not, as the Lightning beat Korpisalo again on the power play to ensure that 2-0 lead. Steven Stamkos’s 17th was assisted by Ondrej Palat and and Victor Hedman.

It didn’t take long before it was 3-0, Korpisalo’s night was over after making three saves on six shots and in came Elvis Merzlikins. Merzlikins was 21 of 24 for the night while Vasilivesky was 32 of 36.

The fourth goal for the period belonged to Columbus as Michael Del Zotto sealed the deal on his third goal, assisted by Jack Roslovic, and Merzlikins!

Hedman shanked a chance towards the end of the period which led to Max Domi’s odd-man rush the other way to challenge Vasilivesky top-shelf, who made the save. The Lightning would actually beat the clock with 0.04 seconds remaining to push the lead back to three goals — A 4-1 first period deficit for Columbus through 20.

Ryan McDonagh’s third — more later — was assisted by Coleman and Gourde.

Columbus outshot Tampa 18-12 in the opening frame.

The ugliness continued into the second with Tampa upping their lead to 5-1. Ross Colton’s third was assisted by Tyler Johnson and Pat Maroon.

It took a while but there was another good thing when Roslovic scored his eighth of the year, assisted by Mikhail Grigorenko and Cam Atkinson.

There was more bad when it became 6-2. McDonagh again. The high-stick challenge did not go Columbus’s way, and the rout. Well it was on from the start.

In the third period, the Bolts finished up a power play that spilled over from the unsuccessful high stick challenge by Columbus and resulting bench minor.

In the third period Stefan Matteau leveled Mikhail Sergachev, and Cal Foote came to his teammate’s defense to scrap with Matteau. Was the hit dirty? It was definitely at least borderline. Jody Shelley stood up for Foote stepping up for his teammate but Shelly is a pro in that regard.

Zach Werenski cut the lead in half with his seventh goal, assisted by Alexandre Texier and Roslovic again. Roslovic’s one goal and two assists on the night gives him five points over the last two games now, including a goal and assist on Tuesday night.

Goaltender interference was called on a play that would have made this a 7-4 game. So there’s that. Max Domi scored his seventh with under a minute left to make it 6-4, the eventual final. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Dean Kukan picked up assists. Columbus outshot Tampa 36-30.

Columbus’s next game is Saturday with the Chicago Blackhawks coming into town for a Saturday night showdown at 7 pm EST.

Additional Notes

David Savard was a healthy scratch as he could soon be on the move via trade. The trade deadline is Monday, April 12 at 3 pm EST. Dean Kukan took Savard’s spot in the lineup. Probably a win-win-win all the way around. Boone Jenner is out six weeks after surgery on a broken finger. Stefan Matteau took his spot in the lineup. Seth Jones led the game in ice-time (24:57). Cam Atkinson led the forwards (19:29). Oliver Bjorkstrand’s five shots led the way for Columbus. Victor Hedman (23:39) led Tampa on the ice. Ryan McDonagh led the game with six shots. Here you go!