Lightning Advance To Second Round
Tampa, Fla – Brayden Point scored the game winning goal 5:12 seconds into overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 .
With the win the Lightning return the favor and eliminate the Blue Jackets in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s the Lightning’s first playoff series win since defeating the Boston Bruins in five games in a 2018 Second Round series.
After the game Lightning Coach Jon Cooper mentioned that it had been 422 days since the Bolts were eliminated by the Blue Jackets – but who’s counting. “It’s funny how the hockey gods work. To go through what we did last year. To get second guessed on a lot of things we did. ” Cooper said. “Go through the season, then have the layoff, the pause and everything that happened…then to end up during reseeding, the new rules and everything and to still end up playing the same team.”
Cooper, relieved that they have moved on from the Blue Jackets, points to last year as a reason for that. “A lot of learning went into last year.” He said. “We had to grow as a team. We din’t necessarily have to tweak the way we play the game. I don’t know if it was as much as structure as it was between the ears.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy was outstanding stopping 37-of-41 shots. He was particularly sharp in the second period as he was ambushed but stopped 22-of-24 shots. Without the stellar play of Vasilevkskiy the score could have been much worse than just a 3-2 Lightning deficit.
“We didn’t manage it well in the second, we were playing on our heels a bit and you have to also realize that they were playing for their lives out there, playing for their season.” Kevin Shattenkirk said. “That’s the Columbus team that everyone knows so well. We got out of there [second period] luckily with only a one goal deficit. We were able to come back int between the second and third and regroup and get our heads back together.”
Handling adversity and being resilient are trademarks of the Lightning. Resiliency starts with leadership and that leadership came from Jon Cooper and Kevin Shattenkirk who spoke to the team after the second intermission.
“I don’t think anyone was happy with the way the second unfolded. Obviously a couple penalties, just got away from our game a little bit.” Black Coleman said. “Coop [Jon Cooper] came in and gave us a real composed speech, reassured us what type of team we have and just kind of hit the reset button. Shatty [Kevin Shattenkirk] was vocal there. Stepped up and had some words for the boys.”
The next four goals were scored by the Blue Jackets as they took a 3rd period 4-2 lead.
Nick Foligno scored 11:51 into the first period to cut the lead to 2-1. The Blue Jackets dominated the Lightning in the second period notching the game tying goal from Kevin Stenlund 9:35 into the period and took the lead at 19:44 of the third period on Alexander Wennberg‘s goal.
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored at the 9:33 mark of the third period to put the Blue Jackets up 4-2. In their franchise history the Tampa Bay Lightning had only come back from a multi-goal 3rd period deficit once and with the momentum all tilted toward the Blue Jackets it appeared a Game Six was inevitable.
Kevin Shattenkirk scored to cut the deficit to 4-3 at the 12:01 mark of the third period.
Anthony Cirelli tied the game 18:22 into the third period as the Lightning had pulled Vasilevsky for an extra skater.
Brayden Point’s goal was the second OT winner of the series as he also netted the game winner in the 5th overtime of Game 1.