The Tampa Bay Lightning had to go to overtime to pick up their third win of the season, but Brayden Point’s goal with just over three minutes left in the extra session secured a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh recorded two assists in the victory while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 of 24 shots.
It was a full line-up for the Bolts as Blake Coleman returned from his stint on the COVID-protocol list. Luke Schenn was in as well as the Lightning went on the road for the first time this season.
The start was less than ideal for the Lightning as Victor Hedman had the puck poked off of his stick just outside of the Tampa Bay zone. Columbus countered quickly and Max Domi slid the puck over to Oliver Bjorkstrand. The forward picked his spot and beat Vasilevskiy to the short side, a shot that Vasy probably wants back. Less than a minute into the game the Lightning were down a goal.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (Max Domi)
The pace of play was pretty animated for a Columbus game as both teams raced up and down the ice. It wasn’t the cleanest game as the Lightning fumbled a few passes, which was expected after a week off of the ice.
As the period continued, the Lightning did improve their play a little, leading to back-to-back, two-on-one chances. First it was Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat sliding the puck wide on their attempt. A minute later Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat came in on the rush, but their attempt at glory was foiled by a sliding Vladislav Gavrikov.
The absolute best chance for the Lightning came off of a face-off win. Ryan McDonagh launched a shot from just inside the blue line that was deflected by Barclay Goodrow. Joonas Korpisalo’s right pad caught just enough of the puck to keep it out of the pack of the net.
The teams pretty much matched each other offensively for the period, but the Lightning had a distinct advantage in high danger chances at 6-1.
The middle frame started off better for the Lightning. Not in the sense that Columbus didn’t have a chance right at the start, but that Seth Jones’ shot clipped the far post instead of going in the net. Progress.
Tampa Bay continued their improved play as they steadily built up chances against the Blue Jackets, but couldn’t finish. Brayden Point had a golden chance seven minutes into the period as he broke in alone on Korpisalo. He channeled Brian Rolston and tried the breakaway slapper. Unfortunately the puck tracked its way right into the goalie’s glove.
Columbus had a chance to increase their lead as they went on the power play after Alex Killorn was a little careless with his stick and tripped up Liam Foudy. A shot by Max Domi almost found its way over Vasilevskiy’s shoulder, but dropped harmlessly to the ice.
From there the game delved into a normal Tampa Bay/Columbus match. The Lightning pressed and the Blue Jackets parried. A couple of failed stretch passes led to multiple icings by the Bolts, but again, Columbus could not take advantage.
Sometimes the Lightning overpass the puck. Sometimes they actually pass it into the net. In this case it was the latter that equaled the game for the Bolts. Gourde led the charge into the zone and found a seam to the third man in, Ryan McDonagh. The veteran delayed, indicated a shot and then calmly slid it to Blake Coleman who tapped it into the net.
Blake Coleman (Ryan McDonagh, Yanni Gourde)
Ryan McDonagh had so much fun picking up the first assist he did it again. This time he set up Mathieu Joseph in the slot for the 2-1 lead. The play started in the neutral zone with Joseph and Cirelli creating a turnover. A quick transition to offense and McDonagh found Joseph all alone in a dangerous spot and the young forward ripped it past Korpisalo.
Mathieu Joseph (Ryan McDonagh, Anthony Cirelli)
So, the first minute of periods. Not great for the Lightning in this game. Jan Rutta turned the puck over and then committed a rules infraction while trying to recover. The Blue Jackets won the ensuing face-off and worked the puck around to Oliver Bjorkstrand. His shot? pass? hit Nick Foligno in front and deflected past Vasilevskiy. Once again, the score was tied.
Nick Foligno (Oliver Bjorkstrand, Cam Atkinson)
The teams traded unsuccessful power plays (both had good looks but couldn’t put the puck home). Play settled in for awhile and Foligno checked off the second box of his potential Gordie Howe hat trick by dropping the mitts with Luke Schenn.
After a solid chance off of a rush by Victor Hedman, and another by the Point line, Jan Rutta was caught chasing Max Domi. He awkwardly went to the ice, flailed at Domi, and tripped him up in the process. It was not a pretty defensive play. It was also a penalty.
The Lightning were a lot stronger on the kill this time, as the Blue Jackets were denied any great looks at the net. In fact the best chance came from the Lightning shorthanded.
Mikhail Sergachev and Hedman had chances at the death, but the horn sounded with neither team finding the back of the net. Extra hockey would be needed to decide this one.
Both teams apparently had dinner plans as play reverted back to the uptempo pace of the first period. Korpisalo denied Anthony Cirelli and then Vasilevskiy returns the favor on a two-on-zero by blockering aside Zach Werenski’s attempt. Stamkos and Point decided to try their own two-on-one but the pass from the captain skipped over Point’s stick. Fun start to the bonus period.
In the end it was Mr. Overtime, Brayden Point who ended it. Victor Hedman brought the puck into the Columbus zone. He delayed, found the cross-seam pass and ricocheted the puck off of Point’s stick and into the back of the net.
Brayden Point (Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos)