COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Tampa Bay scored three runs in the first six minutes of the game, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves and the Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-4 on Thursday night.
Blake Coleman scored 58 seconds in one shot, then Steven Stamkos and Barclay Goodrow scored one minute apart to put the Blue Jackets in an early hole.
Ryan McDonagh scored twice, and Ross Colton also scored when the Lightning stopped a three-game slip and earned a split from the two-game series with Columbus as they challenged the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes to supremacy in the Central Division. Yanni Gourde had four assists and Goodrow added two assists.
"I like the way we started," said McDonagh. “It was good energy and good pre-controls and good play that came from the zone. That allows us to reach the attack zone and make things happen. "
Jack Roslovic had a goal and an assist, and Michael Del Zotto, Zach Werenski and Max Domi also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped eight of the last 10 games. Joonas Korpisalo stopped three of the Lightning's first six shots before being deployed for Elvis Merzlikins, who made the rest of the way 21.
Goodrow & # 39; s goal, which went off the skates of Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine, only chased Korpisalo 5:41 into the match.
"It's not like we weren't ready," Werenski said. "Of course we knew they had lost a few games and were going to be hard, but if you start like this, it's hard to recover from."
Del Zotto cut to the lead to two goals when he snapped a shot from the lock bolt late in the first, but the Lightning extended it again when a puck from McDonagh's stick seeped under Merzlikins and over the line.
Colton held the pressure for lightning to gain momentum early in the second period. An attacking Roslovic scored late in the second for the Blue Jackets, but McDonagh answered 1:48 later with his second goal.
"The guys, they had a good mojo tonight on the offensive side of the puck," said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. “It was a small relief for the boys. Now we just have to keep this going. "
Werenski and Domi got goals in the third period, but the Blue Jackets were short of time.
NO MORE SALVATION?
David Savard, the longtime Blue Jackets defender, was a healthy scratch to the game, likely indicating that the team plans to trade him in before Monday's deadline. 30-year-old Savard, who is an unrestricted free agent after the season, has been with Columbus since the 2011-12 season, playing 597 games with the team.
THURSDAY NIGHT FIGHT
After Stefan Matteau tied the Lightning's Mikhail Sergachev with a monster hit in the third period, Cal Foote hopped on the Blue Jackets rookie and the two fought briefly. Matteau and Foote went to the penalty area for the fight, and Foote was given an extra two minutes to turn on.
Stamkos' power play goal was his 10th of the season. The Blue Jackets as a team have only scored 14 times with the man advantage. … Colton has scored six goals and nine points in his first 14 NHL games. … Tampa Bay defender Erik Cernak returned to the line-up after missing seven games with a lower body injury. Luke Schenn was scratched to make way. … Columbus center Boone Jenner is expected to miss the rest of the season after having surgery on a broken finger on Wednesday.
Lightning: Kick off a two-game run with Nashville on Saturday before heading home for a six-game booth.
Blue Jackets: Open a two-game series with Chicago on Saturday before embarking on a six-game road trip