It's time for Game 2.
The Blue Jackets made an improbable comeback from 3-0 down to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Wednesday night, shocking just about everyone. After a nervy first period, the Blue Jackets settled the game down and took it to Tampa Bay for the next 40 minutes.
However, that's over and done with. The Blue Jackets hold a 1-0 lead in the series, but they need to get after it tonight. Tampa Bay didn't win the President's Trophy by accident. They're a savvy, excellent team, and Columbus will need to play an even better game to beat them this time.
Here are three things the Blue Jackets must do in order to win Game 2 and take a 2-0 series lead back to Nationwide Arena for Game 3:
- The first period in Tampa Bay on Wednesday night was, uh, not great. Yes, the Blue Jackets came back and won, but it's best to avoid putting yourself in a 3-0 hole against a team like the Lightning. The Lightning will come out hot tonight, and the Blue Jackets will have to weather the storm in the first period and fight back with some pressure of their own. It's going to take a 60-minute effort tonight to win, and that starts right when the puck drops.
Win the Special Teams Battle (Again)
- On Wednesday night, the Blue Jackets went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill against the NHL's best power play. Sergei Bobrovsky made some huge saves, and the unit looked cohesive. Not only did they kill all three penalties, including a double minor late in the third, they scored to tie up the game thanks to Big Josh Anderson. On the power play, the Blue Jackets also added the game-winning goal late in the third period. The special teams battle can define a series, and it defined Game 1. If the Blue Jackets can have similar success on both fronts, they should be in the game. Oh, you can't stop watching that replay of the Jones GWG? Neither can we.
Shut Down the Heavy Hitters
- In three regular-season games against Columbus, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov lit the Blue Jackets up, as you can see below.
On Wednesday night, that trio combined for zero points, which is a step in the right direction. If the Blue Jackets can continue to shut down the Lightning's top players, it'll bode well for a victory in Game 2. That'll start with the play of Bobrovsky, who shook off a poor first period and was a brick wall for the last 40 minutes in Game 1.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. ET inside Amalie Arena. Get your Game 2 fix on by clicking here for 1OB's preview.