Blue Jackets Fall in Game 4, Lightning Take 3-1 Series Lead

By Jacob Nitzberg on August 17, 2020 at 5:32 pm

Game 5 is going to be do-or-die, folks.

The Blue Jackets didn't play poorly, but they didn't do enough to fend off the Lightning on Monday evening, falling 2-1. With the victory, the Lightning now hold a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Blue Jackets.

Although the result is certainly upsetting, John Tortorella knows his crew can't let it get to them. “We can't get frustrated. We're still in this," said Tortorella after the game. "We just have to try to get ready for our next game and score some big offensive goals. There's no sense in being frustrated.”

  1 2 3 F
LIGHTING 0 2 0 2

In the first period, the Blue Jackets started quickly, or so they thought. After a prolonged shift in the Lightning's zone, Oliver Bjorkstrand found the back of the net with less than two minutes gone by. However, Jon Cooper challenged the play for offsides, and after review, it was deemed no goal.

It was a deflating decision for the Blue Jackets, especially because the offside occurred well before the scoring play developed and had no impact on the goal itself. Despite the unfortunate decision, the boys in blue regrouped and turned in a solid first period, although the score was 0-0 when the horn sounded.

Then, the second period began, and it didn't start well for the Blue Jackets. Just 16 seconds into the middle frame, Barclay Goodrow scored to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. Three minutes and 53 seconds later, Yanni Gourde made it 2-0, Lightning. 

To the Blue Jackets' credit, they didn't give in. Cam Atkinson, who made his return from injury after missing Games 2 and 3, scored on a redirection to cut the Lightning lead in half.

The second period would end with the score favoring the Lightning, 2-1. In the final 20 minutes, the Blue Jackets got an early power play opportunity but weren't able to capitalize. Pierre-Luc Dubois got a good look on net thanks to a great pass from Gustav Nyquist, but he sent the puck just wide.

“When I shoot, especially on a breakaway," said Dubois, "I think it's going in. I'm not happy that I missed, but it is what it is.”

With six skaters on and the game winding down, the Blue Jackets took an absolutely brutal too-many-men penalty with 1:07 remaining. The Lightning saw the game out from there, and that was all she wrote.

Game Notes

  • The Blue Jackets fell to 5-3 against the Lightning all-time in the playoffs (2–2 at home) with Monday’s 2-1 loss in Game 4.
  • Each of the last two games and three of the four in the series have been decided by a single goal with Tampa Bay winning each one-goal contest. The team led the NHL in one-goal games played and wins in 2019-20 with 43 and 20 respectively (20–8–15).
  • Tonight was the first time in eight playoff meetings between the Blue Jackets and Lightning that the winning team didn’t score at least three goals.
  • Columbus fell to 3–4 in Game 4’s all-time in postseason history with the loss.
  • CBJ fell in consecutive games (Game 3 and 4 vs. Tampa Bay) for the first time in the 2020 postseason.
  • The Blue Jackets killed off all three of the Lightning’s power-play attempts in Game 4 and have killed off all 10 penalties in the series. The club has not allowed a power-play goal in five-straight playoff games dating back to Game 5 against the Maple Leafs (11 opportunities).
  • Columbus has killed off all opponent power-play attempts in seven of the nine games in the postseason (21-of-23; 91.3 pct.).
  • CBJ won 30-of-42 faceoffs in the game (71.4 pct.), including all 11 draws in the opening period.
  • RW CAM ATKINSON notched his third goal of the postseason and first since Game 4 against Toronto. He is the first player in franchise history to reach double-digit playoff goals in their career (10-14-24 in 34 games).
  • C PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS picked up his team-leading fifth assist and ninth point of the playoffs (4-5-9 in nine games). His nine points are tied for third-most in a single playoffs in club history, trailing only the 2019 totals of Artemi Panarin (11) and Matt Duchene (10).
  • D ZACH WERENSKI collected his second assist/third point of the postseason and first since scoring the series clincher in Game 5 against Toronto.
  • C BOONE JENNER won a game-high 11 faceoffs, finishing 11-of-12 in the faceoff circle (91.7 pct.).
  • C KEVIN STENLUND made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, finishing with a hit and won 3-of-4 faceoffs (75.0 pct.) on 7:35 of ice time.

Injury Update

Cam Atkinson returned to action in Game 4 after missing Games 2 and 3 of the series. Elvis Merzlikins is still unfit to play.

Next Up

The Blue Jackets will take on the Lightning in Game 5 on Wednesday. Puck drop is slated for noon (yes, you read that correctly). It'll be win or go home for Columbus.