There are a lot of similarities between Games 3 and 4 in this First Round series between the Lightning and Blue Jackets.
Most importantly for Tampa Bay, they were victorious in both but the way those wins came about were very similar.
In each game, the Lightning started slow but rallied to build a lead in the second period and then were strong defensively down the stretch to secure the win.
And because of a gritty 2-1 victory in Game 4 on Monday, they now hold a 3-1 series lead over Columbus.
The Lightning were fortunate to get through the first period without surrendering a goal. In fact, it looked like Columbus had taken the lead when Oliver Bjorkstrand cleaned up a rebound opportunity less than two minutes into the game. The Bolts immediately challenged, however, and it was ruled that Alexandre Texier had entered the zone offside at the beginning of the shift so the call was reversed.
Even after having Bjorkstrand’s goal disallowed, Columbus was the aggressor for most of the opening 20 minutes. The Blue Jackets outshot Tampa Bay 10-7 in the first period and spent long periods of time in the Lightning zone.
The Bolts bounced back right out of the intermission to build a two-goal lead only to have Columbus answer minutes later to pull within one.
Barclay Goodrow got the Bolts on the board 16 seconds into the period with his first goal since being acquired by Tampa Bay. The Lightning won a puck battle behind the Columbus net and Goodrow was on hand to beat Joonas Korpisalo from in tight. Less than four minutes later, Yanni Gourde made it 2-0 with his second goal of the series. The Lightning cycled the puck to Kevin Shattenkirk who fired a shot that Gourde deflected past Korpisalo.
Columubs quickly cut into the lead with Cam Atkinson scoring a 4-on-4 goal less than two minutes after Gourde’s tally. It appeared that Atkinson made contact with Andrei Vasilevskiy in the crease tying up his stick before tapping the puck over the line at the far post but the goal stood without a challenge or review.
That would do it for the scoring, however, as the Lightning once again were strong down the stretch in the third period. The Bolts held Columbus to just eight shots on goal in the period and kept the pressure on Vasilevskiy to a minimum. Just as happened in Game 3, a strong forecheck held play in the Columbus defensive zone without a whistle for long stretches preventing them from pushing for the equalizer.
Even in the loss, Korpisalo continues to be strong in goal for the Blue Jackets. Although he only faced 22 shots on goal on Monday, he came up with some big stops, including five on a late second period power play chance for the Bolts.
The Lightning will now have a chance to wrap up the series on Wednesday at noon in Game 5.
TBL | 0:16 Barclay Goodrow (1) – Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde
TBL | 4:09 Yanni Gourde (2) – Kevin Shattenkirk, Barclay Goodrow
CBJ | 5:48 Cam Atkinson (3) – Pierre-Luc Dubois, Zach Werenski