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Game #79 recap: Stamkos hat trick helps Bolts down Jackets 5-2

The Columbus Blue Jackets hit the ice in Amalie Arena on Tuesday night, taking on the probably-locked-into-Wild Card 1 Tampa Bay Lightning. Here’s how the the Jackets lined up:

Before the game, fans did get a sort-of update about the GM search:

Alex Nylander was a late scratch, he is considered day-to-day. Jet Greaves got the start in net. Here’s what happened. 

First Period 

The Jackets opened the game on the front foot, holding the Lightning to just one shot on goal and three attempts through the first six minutes, but were unable to generate any dangerous chances of their own. The game had a slow opening frame, with the teams combining for just eight shots on goal on the first 15 minutes of game time. 

With 3:29 to go, a Tampa rush finally broke the scoring open. A spinning Nikita Kichurov found Brayden Point all alone in the slot who put his 44th of the season past Greaves. Whale of a play by Kucherov, and Greaves had zero chance. 

Tampa Bay goal (0-1): Point from Kucherov and Duclair, 16:31

Carson Meyer left late in the first with an upper body injury, and it was announced he would not return, leaving the Jackets down a skater the rest of the way. 

In the dying seconds, the Jackets drew level: Kirill Marchenko deked through three Bolts defenders and beat Vasilevskiy to tie the game at one with his 22nd of the year.

Columbus goal (1-1): Marchenko from Sillinger and Severson, 19:17

Second Period 

The Jackets earned the game’s first power play five minutes into the second and the Bolts killed it, but a too many men on the ice penalty gave the Jackets a second chance and this time they took advantage. Kirill Marchenko took possession of a puck in the neutral zone and carried it in before letting go of a shot that beat Vasilevskiy for his second of the night. With the assist on the goal, Johnny Gaudreau hit 500 career assists. Werenski’s 44th assist tied him with James Wisniewski for the most in a season by a CBJ defenseman. 

Columbus goal (2-1): Marchenko from Gaudreau and Werenski, 7:13

With just over five minutes remaining in the second, the Bolts tied the game at two. Damon Severson was boxed for hooking and Steven Stamkos took advantage with a one timer. 

Tampa Bay goal (2-2): Stamkos from Kucherov and Hedman, 14:17

The Bolts put some pressure on late, but the Jackets escaped to intermission with the game knotted at two. 

Third Period

After some back and forth chances, Anthony Cirelli gathered a rebound in his skates before he kicked it to his stick and beat a scrambling Greaves to give the Bolts the lead early in the third. 

Tampa Bay goal (2-3): Cirelli from Hagel and Stamkos, 5:40

Seconds later, Steven Stamkos let a screened shot go from between the circles that fooled Greaves for his second of the night. That’ll shake a game up. 

Tampa Bay goal (2-4): Stamkos from Hagel and Cernak, 5:56

Justin Danforth was boxed for hooking at 11:07 but Columbus managed to kill the penalty despite extended Tampa Bay pressure. 

The Jackets pulled the goalie late, Steven Stamkos hit the empty net for his 13th career hat trick, and that’s all folks. 

Tampa Bay goal (2-5): Stamkos, unassisted, 17:57


Columbus Blue Jackets 2 Tampa Bay Lightning 5

Final Thoughts

Tonight is my final game recap as a member of The Cannon’s staff. I’ll still be around through the offseason doing player ratings and some draft profiles, but my game recap career has come to an end with this one. 

It’s a bittersweet feeling – for several reasons, this is the right time to hang them up so to speak, but I’ve been doing this for nearly 10 years now. I’ve easily written a million words about this team (not an exaggeration), and this place has been my outlet to celebrate, rant, be frustrated, and commiserate with a tremendous group of engaged, informed, and passionate fans. Y’all have made this journey worth it, and I’m thankful for all of you. 

Thank you all for reading, for commenting, and for engaging with my recaps over the years. I appreciate every single one of you. 

Up Next

The Columbus Blue Jackets continue on their final road trip of the season on Thursday night as they take on the Florida Panthers in Sunrise. Faceoff is set for 7:00 PM ET.