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Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets preview: Can’t afford to get complacent now

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Now they have to keep it going.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets: ROUND 1, GAME 3

Time: 3:00pm Eastern Time

Location: Scotiabank Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, SN, SUN, FS-O, TVAS

Opponent SBNation Site: Jackets Cannon

Preview:

Give the Tampa Bay Lightning all of the credit: they bent early in Game 3, but they didn’t break. It was undoubtedly their shakiest start of the series, but their strongest performance overall. Once they overcame and killed off a two-man advantage, the Lightning rolled through the rest of the game and head into today’s meeting with a chance to take a stranglehold on the series.

Joonas Korpisalo looked human for the first time in this series, and the Lightning did an excellent job of not buckling to the Blue Jackets’ relentless forecheck early on. They did an even greater job of neutralizing it as the game progressed, and that’s something they have to continue to do for the rest of the series if they want to move on to Round 2.

A couple of sloppy penalties at the beginning of Game 3 could have really cost them had Columbus scored. Discipline remains the one area the Lightning could use improvements in, even though they tightened things up as the game went on. Still, the team can’t keep relying on their penalty kill and Andrei Vasilevskiy to bail them out. They might not be so lucky the next time they take an ill-timed penalty.

Carter Verhaeghe was a surprise addition to the Game 3 lineup, but his performance in that game all-but solidified his spot on the fourth line — expect him back there tonight. There remains no update on Steven Stamkos, but we can always hope.

The Jackets have proven during these playoffs that they are more than capable of bouncing back from a bad outing. The Lightning cannot afford to get complacent at any point during today’s game. But for the first time in this series, the Lightning looked like the dominant regular season team they were. Let’s hope they can keep it that way.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson

Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman

Cedric Paquette - Carter Verhaeghe - Patrick Maroon

Mitchell Stephens, Alex Volkov, Mathieu Joseph

Injured: Steven Stamkos

Defense Pairs

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn

Injured: Jan Rutta

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Columbus Blue Jackets

Forwards

Alexandre Texier - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Liam Foudy - Boone Jenner - Nick Foligno

Alexander Wennberg - Riley Nash - Gustav Nyquist

Eric Robinson - Devin Shore - Emil Bemstrom

Injured: Cam Atkinson

Defense Pairs

Zach Werenski - Seth Jones

Vladislav Gavrikov - David Savard

Ryan Murray - Markus Nutivaara

Dean Kukan

Goaltenders

Joonas Korpisalo

Matiss Kivlenieks

Injured: Elvis Merzlikins