Now it's a series.
The Columbus Blue Jackets took care of the Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring a 3-1 win Thursday afternoon in Game 2 of Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to tie the series at one game apiece.
At the start of the contest, it was all Lightning, who looked to be carrying momentum over from a five-overtime win on Tuesday night. The Blue Jackets didn't register a shot until halfway through the first frame, and a Nikita Kucherov goal just 5:24 into the period had many Columbus fans nervous that they may be the ones swept this year.
But Pierre-Luc Dubois and the rest of his young teammates, who are too green to know they should feel pressure, just wouldn't have that narrative, though. It was No. 18 who took control of the game midway through the first period with a slick dish to a cutting Ryan Murray who scored his first-ever playoff goal to tie the game at one at the 12:52 mark.
“It wasn't a great pass, but I guess [Murray]'s a goal scorer. He's a sniper now,” Dubois, who finished the game with two assists, giving him 4-4-8 in the postseason, would say of the play after the game.
Six minutes later, Dubois fed a wide-open Oliver Bjorkstrand who wired home his second of the series to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead first-period lead. The goal would become the third game-winning goal for the young Dane in his postseason career.
The last two periods of the game were essentially a show by the Blue Jackets' typical stifling defense and more elite goaltending from Joonas Korpisalo, who stopped 36 of the 37 Lightning shots he faced after setting an NHL record with 85 saves in Game 1 Tuesday night. The stacked Lightning offense mounted chances, but never could seriously threaten the Blue Jackets' lead.
Alexander Wennberg, who's caught the ire of Blue Jackets fans for the better part of two years now got a big third goal for the Blue Jackets in the third period, and boy was it a beauty. The center broke loose up the right boards and absolutely dangled Tampa's Kevin Shattenkirk to thrust a dagger into the heart of the Lightning.
“I've tried it before,” Wennberg said of the boot to stick move he put on Shattenkirk. “It worked out really well this time. It's not often that it works out that great.”
- Columbus earned a 3-1 victory on Thursday to even its series against Tampa Bay at one win apiece.
- The Blue Jackets improved to 5-1 against the Lightning all-time in the playoffs (3–1 on the road).
- CBJ earned a two-goal victory for the second time in the 2020 postseason (ECQS Game 1 vs. Toronto).
- The Jackets allowed the first goal of the game for the first time in the last four contests. The club improved to 2–1 when allowing the first goal in the 2020 playoffs.
- CBJ led after the first period for the third time (2–1) and after the second period for the fourth time in the 2020 playoffs (2–2). The club went 14–2–5 in the 2019-20 regular season when taking a lead into the third period.
- Columbus scored a power-play goal for the second-straight contest and finished 1-of-3 on the day (33.3 pct.). The club moved to 7-of-18 on the power play against the Lightning in the playoffs all-time (38.9 pct).
- The Blue Jackets killed off both of the Lightning’s power-play attempts in Game 2 and have killed off all six penalties in the series. The club has not allowed a power-play goal in three-straight playoff games dating back to Game 5 against the Maple Leafs.
- CBJ have killed off all opponent power play attempts in five of the seven games in the postseason.
- G JOONAS KORPISALO turned aside 36-of-37 shots (.973) to improve to 3-2 in the postseason. He has denied 121-of-125 Tampa Bay shots in the series through the first two games (.968 SV% and 1.14 GAA).
- C PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS collected his third multi-point effort of the postseason with two first period assists. After being held off the scoresheet in Game 1 and 2 vs. Toronto in the Eastern Conference Qualifying Series, he has posted 4-4-8 over his last five contests. He recorded 1-1-2 in Game 1 vs. the Lightning and has 2-5-7 in six career postseason contests vs. the club. He won 11-of-16 faceoffs in the game (68.8 pct).
- D RYAN MURRAY notched his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs goal in his 17th career game with a first-period tally.
- RW OLIVER BJORKSTRAND registered a goal for the second-straight game and now has 4-2-6 in six career postseason games against the Lightning. Three of those goals have been game-winners, including the one on Thursday in Game 2. Bjorkstrand is the only player in Blue Jackets playoff history to score in four consecutive games against one opponent (Tampa Bay).
- C ALEXANDER WENNBERG tallied his second goal of the playoffs (ECQS Game 1 vs. Toronto) and third of his playoffs career (19 games).
- C ALEXANDRE TEXIER recorded an assist on Bjorkstrand’s goal and now has four assists in his last five games, including two straight.
- F LIAM FOUDY collected an assist for his second point of the postseason, recording both points over the last three games (1-1-2).
- LW NICK FOLIGNO (1-3-4 in seven playoff games) picked up an assist and has posted points in three of the last four outings (1-2-3).
- C DEVIN SHORE made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in Game 2 vs. Tampa Bay, finishing with two hits on 5:52 of ice time.
Elvis Merzlikins was "unfit to play" and did not dress as the backup goaltender for Game 1 or 2. Matiss Kivlenieks was the No. 2 goalie behind Korpisalo. Cam Atkinson was deemed "unfit to play" ahead of Game 2, and his status for Game 3 is unknown.
Game 3 of this first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series is set for Saturday, Aug. 15. Puck drop is again at 7:30 p.m. ET.