Well, there's not much to say about this one, a disappointing effort from the Lightning as they narrowly avoid getting shut out and see their five-game home winning streak come to an end at the hands of a last place Columbus Blue Jackets team that has been utterly devastated by injuries. With six players currently on injured reserve and 168 man games lost to injury, a patchwork Columbus lineup took advantage of a sloppy Tampa Bay team, outplaying them in almost all aspects to earn the win.
"We didn't play our best. A couple of unlucky bounces on the first couple goals, but we didn't really have a response. We didn't necessarily get to the areas we needed to get to score on a team that has a very good goalie and does a good job of clearing the net." - Steven Stamkos
The Lightning did hold the advantage in shots throughout the contest, finishing with a 34-20 edge. Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky was solid throughout, with the toughest saves coming on multi-player scrums in the crease. On the other end, the first two goals allowed by the Lightning's Ben Bishop were fairly soft ones and the third goal was actually deflected into the net by teammate Nikita Kucherov.
"Over a long season it is going to happen. It was almost bound to; it's been a while since we've had some bad bounces against us." - Bishop
The Blue Jackets started things off at 2:37 of the first on their third shot of the game on a goal by Boone Jenner on an assist from Matt Calvert.
At 12:48, they doubled the lead and notched the game winner on a power play goal by David Savard with help from Jack Johnson and Cam Atkinson. Bishop made the initial stop but the puck somehow dribbled into the net.
That was the score until the 4:51 mark of the third until Kucherov's own-goal which was credited to Jack Skille. Michael Chaput and Scott Hartnell picked up the assists.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper pulled Bishop for the extra skater with 3:30 remaining and the Lightning ended Bobrovsky's shutout bid at 18:47 when Ondrej Palat scored on assists from Kucherov and Jonathan Drouin.
"I thought we worked hard. I thought for sure the first two periods we carried the play. We probably had more than double the scoring chances. Maybe give their goalie a little credit. That's how I saw the first two periods anyway. They got a couple of breaks that they probably earned. Were we off a little bit in our execution? There's no question, but it wasn't because of lack of effort." - Cooper
The Lightning will hope to rebound with a better showing on Tuesday when they host the Washington Capitals.
- The Lightning used the same lineup tonight as they used in Thursday's 5-0 win over Buffalo, with the same assistant captains (Ryan Callahan and Victor Hedman) and same healthy scratches (Mark Barberio and J.T. Brown).
- The Blue Jackets have now won three straight, their longest winning streak so far this season.
- Tyler Johnson's five-game scoring streak ended.
- Brett Connolly skated in his 100th NHL game. .
- Steven Stamkos remains one goal shy of the 250 mark.
- The Lightning honored Sara Robinson as the 15th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Robinson, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Junior Achievement, Central Florida Autism Institute Inc., and the Falls Adventure. To date, the Lightning Foundation has donated a total of $7 million to support non-profit charities through the Lightning Community Heroes program since it began at the beginning of the 2011-12 season. Tonight's Lightning Community Hero has used her life's test as a testimony to give hope and affect positive change in the lives of those affected with mental disabilities. As an adopted child from Romania, Robinson was diagnosed as Mentally Retarded and suffered from a fatal disease. She eventually participated in a medical research study that helped save her life and others from this disease. After years of perseverance, a positive attitude, and the support of her adoptive family, Robinson was able to overcome her learning disability and graduate high school with honors, and then continue on to college. Today she has become a staunch advocate for those with mental disabilities and a strong supporter for international adoption. Robinson co-wrote and successfully lobbied for the Florida Disability History and Awareness Act. After it passed, she used her own resources to produce videos on disability awareness which were shown in Florida schools. She is the youngest member to serve on the Florida Developmental Disability Council. Robinson also represents Florida youth with disabilities on the Florida Youth Council. In addition to serving the needs of the local community, Robinson has taken her advocacy internationally. She was invited to the European Union and testified in support of international adoption for neglected and abandoned children in Romania.