Tampa Bay Lightning Power Play Strikes Down Columbus Blue Jackets


The Tampa Bay Lightning comes alive at the Amalie Arena as the Power Play unit scores three goals to help the Lightning defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has certainly been traveling down a road filled with obstacles this season. As the Tampa Bay Lightning headed into the Amalie Arena tonight to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time this season, there are a total of seven players on the Lightning’s injured list.

On the bright side, the Tampa Bay Lightning did get one of their many injured players back in the lineup tonight. Just before puck drop this evening, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that right wing J.T. Brown would be making his return to the Lightning lineup tonight.

Both the Bolts and the Blue Jackets came into tonight’s game in serious need of a win. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets both came into tonight’s encounter at the Amalie Arena looking to lay everything on the line to bring home the two points, and needless to say it turned into a pretty exciting game.

The Tampa Bay Lightning wasted no time in making their way to the scoreboard. Just 5:34 into the First Period, Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Mike Blunden would score his second goal of the season after tipping in a shot from Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr.

Unfortunately, the Lightning’s lead wouldn’t last quite as long as one would have hoped. Just over 15 seconds before the halfway point in the period, the Columbus Blue Jackets would bring home a goal of their own from Rene Bourque. Bourque tipped in a shot from Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner; Ben Bishop never even saw it coming.

The one incredibly disconcerting thing about the first period of play is the lack of shots taken by the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the first period of play, the Columbus Blue Jackets outshot the Tampa Bay Lightning 15-9. As we have always stated, we are huge proponents of quality over quantity, but there is a fine line between this and simply needing to take the shot.

The Tampa Bay Lightning looked to get back on top early in the Second Period of play, but unfortunately for the Bolts, the Columbus Blue Jackets had something to say about this. Blue Jackets center Alexander Wennberg took a shot at the net. After hitting the stick of left wing Scott Hartnell, the puck flew past Bishop and into the back of the net.

Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, this goal would be the beginning of the end for them. First, it would be Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout who would make his way to the sin bin for two minutes for Cross Checking Lightning center Alex Killorn. At the same time, Blue Jackets center Gregory Campbell would be called for Two Minutes for a Delay of Game/Faceoff Violation.

Before the Tampa Bay Lightning could even begin to mount any sort of offense against the Blue Jackets, Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson would make his way to the sin bin for Two Minutes for Delay of Game/Puck Over the Glass. This would open the door for Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to make his move.

Steven Stamkos would score not one, but two goals on the same Power Play with just 32 seconds in between. This would account for his 15th and 16th goals of the season. At this point, the Tampa Bay Lightning had managed to turn everything around and retake the lead from the Blue Jackets.

At 9:29 in the second period, things would really start to heat up on the ice. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop would play the puck behind the net. Just as Bishop turned his head to look behind him, Scott Hartnell was there to knock Bishop to the ice.

Needless to say, Lightning players had quite a bit to say about this one. Vladislav Namestnikov would mistake Ryan Johansen as the player who hit Bishop. As many of you know by now, Vladdy certainly gave Johansen a piece of his mind. At the same time, Alex Killorn dropped the gloves with the actual offending player, Scott Hartnell.

When all the penalties were handed out, Johansen and Namestnikov would head off for Five Minutes for Fighting, Killorn would get Two Minutes for Roughing, and Scott Hartnell (the catalyst of this whole situation) would get Five Minutes for Charging, and a Game Misconduct penalty.

While there has been some argument as to whether Hartnell deserved such a strong punishment for his actions, there is no situation in which it is acceptable to hit the goaltender. The NHL has really been clamping down on these kinds of hits on goaltenders lately. Keeping this in mind, the referees did what they had to do, end of story.

This is not the first time Scott Hartnell has gotten into it with someone from the Tampa Bay Lightning. When these two teams met on December 14th, Hartnell would drop the gloves with Tampa Bay Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan. Unfortunately for Hartnell, things didn’t exactly go his way that night either.

As the Blue Jackets would have to kill yet another set of penalties tonight, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov bided his time and was able to get one past Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and into the back of the net.

Surprisingly enough, this was not the end of the night for the Tampa Bay Lightning; however, it would be the end of the night for Korpisalo. As the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets would take the ice for the Third Period of play, the Blue Jackets would elect to pull Korpisalo. In his place would be goaltender Curtis McElhinney.

Just 4:39 seconds into the Third Period, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison would make his move and essentially seal the deal for the Bolts. Taking control of the puck in the neutral zone, Garrison would play the puck all the way up the ice. When he found himself in position and realized he had no one there to help him, Garrison did what any self-respecting player would do…he took the shot.

Garrison’s puck went just over the glove side of McElhinney and into the back of the net. This would be the last time either team would be able to pierce the veil and put the puck in the goal. When the final buzzer sounded, the Tampa Bay Lightning would defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2.

There is no denying the Tampa Bay Lightning played leaps and bounds better than they did on Tuesday night against the Vancouver Canucks; especially when it comes to capitalizing on the Power Play. This doesn’t get the Tampa Bay Lightning off the hook by any means. The Lightning still have plenty of work to do if they want to find themselves still playing hockey once the second week of April comes around.

The midway point in the season is right around the corner, and the Tampa Bay Lightning has plenty of tough opponents ahead of them who have the potential to derail the Lightning’s hope of postseason play. The Lightning will definitely have to start taking more shots on goal and capitalizing on their opportunities. Also, despite their success tonight, the Lightning’s Power Play still needs some improvement.

One of the biggest things the Tampa Bay Lightning needs to do in order to find themselves in a comfortable position at the end of the season is to get (and stay) healthy. Having 7-8 of your key players on the injury list is not the ideal situation to be in when you are approaching this point in the season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has overcome more than their fair share of adversity in the past. This, much like the obstacles that have come before this, is nothing the Tampa Bay Lightning cannot overcome. We here at Bolts By The Bay, much like all of you in the Bolts Nation, are anxious to see what the next couple of opponents have in store for the Lightning.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will continue their current six-game home stand as they head back into the Amalie Arena to take on the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.

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