Too Much, Too Early: Blue Jackets Can't Recover From First Period Woes, Fall 6-4 To Tampa Bay

By Ed Francis on April 8, 2021 at 9:39 pm
Tampa Bay was a beast on offense Thursday night at Nationwide Arena, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
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  1 2 3   F
Columbus

4

2

0

 6

Florida

1

1

2

 4

     SHOTS: TB: 30 CBJ: 36

Joonas Korpisalo was pulled less than six minutes into the game, the Tampa Bay Lightning scored four times before the first intermission, and the Columbus Blue Jackets were handily defeated Thursday night at Nationwide Arena, 6-4.

The Lightning got the scoring going early, with Blake Coleman scoring in the first minute. Steven Stamkos picked up his 17th of the season at the 4:41 mark of the period, and Barclay Goodrow made it 3-0 Tampa Bay exactly one minute later. The three goals came on just five shots against Columbus starter Joonas Korpisalo, who was pulled in place of Elvis Merzlikins.

Merzlikins would help cut the deficit with just under three minutes left in the period, as he picked up the second assist on Michael Del Zotto's third goal of the season. It was the only goal Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy would allow in the first, stopping 17 of 18 Columbus shots in the first 20 minutes. 

Del Zotto's goal gave the Blue Jackets momentum as the first period came to a close, but a last second goal - literally - from Ryan McDonagh made it 4-1 and deflated the 23% full Nationwide Arena.

Tampa Bay would make it 5-1 early in the second period, with Ross Colton beating Merzlikins after a sloppy turnover from Columbus' Jack Roslovic. The Blue Jackets would bring it back to a three-goal margin later in the period, with Roslovic redeeming his earlier mistake, beating Vasilevskiy for his 8th goal of the season. 

After Tampa Bay made it 6-2, the Blue Jackets would get late goals from Zach Werenski and Max Domi to make it seem closer than it really was.

The loss was Columbus' 8th in their last ten games, further lessening the Blue Jackets microscopic odds of making it to the postseason for a 5th consecutive season. 


Injury Update

Riley Nash and Boone Jenner will miss the remainder of the season; Nash with a sprained knee, Jenner with a broken finger. Emil Bemstrom remains on injured reserved. Gustav Nyquist is still sidelined following shoulder surgery, but is skating and traveling with the team.

Next Up

Columbus stays at Nationwide Arena for two more, with the Chicago Blackhawks in town for the first of two Saturday night. Puck drop is 7:00 P.M.

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