Blue Jackets Win a Big One, 5-2, Over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nationwide Arena

By Rob Mixer on January 23, 2021 at 4:36 pm

What a sigh of relief for the Blue Jackets, after the day (and weeks) they went through.

They're back in the win column after a huge win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2, at Nationwide Arena. They're even with the Lightning at six points atop the Central Division. This, folks, was an important one to get in the bag. 

Big goals were the name of the day.

Early in the third period, after withstanding some push from the Lightning, Alexandre Texier–who has been a standout early-season forward for the Blue Jackets–danced behind the Lightning net and found Zach Werenski in the slot for his first goal of the season.

That goal gave the Blue Jackets a 4-2 lead, and Texier has five points in the first six games of the season. He's been on a tear, and John Tortorella seems content to keep feeding him the ice time.

The Blue Jackets gave up the opening goal, a weird bouncing chance that defenseman Victor Hedman eventually put past Elvis Merzlikins to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. Merzlikins, after a shaky couple of starts to the season, was solid against the defending champions to get two big points.

Columbus had some answers all day.

Nick Foligno tied the game only 17 seconds later on a delayed penalty, bringing the Blue Jackets level at 1-1. The home team took the lead later in the period on the first NHL goal since April 2017 from Mikhail Grigorenko, who tapped in a rebound behind Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Later in the first period, it was Vladislav Gavrikov scoring his first goal of the new season on a shot from the slot, set up by Liam Foudy and beating Vasilevskiy to the glove side. 

Tampa Bay got one back in the waning moments of the opening frame, a power play goal resulting from a Nathan Gerbe slashing penalty in the offensive zone. That's where things stood after 20 minutes, and then 40 minutes, on what was an eventful day around Nationwide Arena.

In case you haven't heard, the Blue Jackets completed a three-player blockbuster deal earlier in the day with the Winnipeg Jets–sending disgruntled center Pierre-Luc Dubois north of the border in exchange for sniper Patrik Laine and Columbus kid Jack Roslovic. Roslovic, if you'll recall, grew up in central Ohio hockey with the AAA Blue Jackets program and is coming home to play for the team he grew up cheering for.

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