Just hours before puck drop in the Largest Snall town in America, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced a blockbuster trade bringing in Finnish Super star Patrick Laine from the Winnipeg jets in exchange for Pierre Luc-Dubois . CBJ looked to bounce back after being clearly distracted the previous game. Dubois did not play at all after the first period. The tension between former Lightning head coach and current CBJ head coach John Tortorella and Columbus’s third overall pick from 2016 was thick enough to cut with a knife. The Blue Jackets will be without Laine for now. He will need to complete a quarantine before he can join the team. The storm cloud over the team appears to be gone. Tampa looks to be that storm cloud this afternoon and continue to be a sore spot in the Blue Jackets side.
The first period was raining goals. Victor Hedman kicked off the scoring. With a spectacular Between the legs backhand shot following the offensive rush. The puck leaked through Columbus netminder Elvis Merzikins to put the bolts up 1-0 early in the game. Columbus responded with a flurry of goals from captain Nick Foligno, Mikhail Grigorenko and Vladislav Gavrikov getting on the scoreboard. the Gavrikov goal coming in with under a minute left in the period making it 3-1. Just seconds later Ondri Palat playing in career game number 500 continues his hot streak. Tapping home, team leading goal number 3 on the season to bring Tampa within one with 24 seconds left in the first period. Palat was the beneficiary of a gorgeous feed from Brayden Point as the Lightning power play continues to buzz. Hedman added another point to his day with the secondary assist.
The goalies kept the score the same after a tight second period. Andri Vaseleski making his 4th straight start this season stopped all 8 shots in the middle frame. The Lightning seemed to have swung momentum after an excellent penalty kill, an area the team is looking to improve in. Heading to the locker room the Bolts looked to make the necessary adjustments as they continue to look to go unbeaten in their first 4 games for the second time in franchise history.
It was not to be. Zach Werenski scored against a exhausted Tampa Squad with 13:24 left in the 3rd to put the lead back at two goals. Tampa players were beginning to show signs of fatigue being chased around by a pesky Columbus team. Vasilevskiy looked like he had started all of games so far being a little shakey in net after 3 excellent starts. The team should be excitingly awaiting the return of Curtis Mchellany off of the COVID-19 reserve to take some pressure and wear & tear off the 26 year old Russian netminder. Erik Robinson added an empty net goal to down Tampa 5-2. Columbus handing Tampa their first loss of the season. Vasileskiy stopped 23 of 27 shots against him. Near the midway mark In the 3rd period Tampa forward Mitchell Stephans went down and appeared to not be able to put any weight on his right leg As he was helped off the ice. He would not return. Erik Cernak who took a nasty hit from Nick Foligno in the 1st period was unable to return to the game as well with an undisclosed injury. The bruised up Bolts will make their way back to the sunshine state after the game with their match up in Raleigh against former southeast division foes The Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday appearing to be in jeopardy. For the first time this season Tampa did not allow a man advantage goal and the team still looks lethal on an “off day” No love lost in Columbus. These teams will meet again 6 more times in just the regular season. A playoff matchup for the 3rd straight year looking very possible.