The Blue Jackets can’t keep up with the Lightning, losing 4-1

The Blue Jackets can’t keep up with the Lightning, losing 4-1

After being blanked by the Panthers, the Columbus Blue Jackets headed north to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning came into the game red hot having won 11 of their last 14 games. The Blue Jackets would need a better offensive performance if they wanted a chance to knock off the Lightning. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

1st period

Tampa was first off the rush. Namestnikov dropped the puck back to Bellemare who surprised Tarasov with a quick wrister.

TBL Goals 1-0: Bellemare (Namestnikov, Hedman) 3:57

The Jackets spent a lot of time in their own zone and Johnson eventually went off for hooking. Tarasov made an incredible save on Kucherov that took the sail out of the rest of the Lightning man advantage.

Perry then grounded out to hold to give the Jackets their first power play. The new look, five forward first unit was unable to get anything going. Marchenko toeed around a Lightning defender for a good chance, but he couldn’t convert the tough angled shot. No dice for the good guys.

The Jackets went back for the kill when Berni was forced to hook Cirelli on a breakaway. He probably prevented a goal when Cirelli made Tarasov beat. Berni’s heroics paid off when the Lightning failed to convert. How impressive has Berni been in his short tenure?

Tampa dominated the first period and led in 5v5 scoring chances 13-4. The first line was less than inspiring, prompting Larsen to replace Nyquist with Laine (shocker, it didn’t last), but they still couldn’t get anything going. God forbid that Larsen would break up Gaudreau and Jenner if they struggled with the puck.

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2nd period

Sillinger made a great play to tie the game. He skated the puck 100 feet into the offensive zone, shook off a Bolt and found Marchenko on a cross. The newest Russian on the team snipped one past Elliot’s other side.

CBJ goals 1-1: Marchenko (Sillinger, Gudbranson) 3:10

Tampa went to the power play late in the period when Christiansen went to the box for tripping. Tarasov made three solid saves on the kill to keep the match tied.

The Jackets won the second period in not only goals, but also in possession. Leading the way was the Sillinger line, which had a goal and held a seven-to-one unblocked shot advantage through two periods. In typical Larsen fashion, that line was also last in time on ice.

3rd period

The third period started at a very fast pace. Both teams exchanged shots, but in the end it was the Lightning who took the lead. Hagel threw the puck toward the net and a bouncing puck found the stick of Point, who always seems to score against the Jackets.

TBL Goals 2-1: Points (Hagel, Kucherov) 9:02

The Lightning nearly put the game away late in the period when Kucherov found a wide open Hagel. The first line had struggled all night and Larsen refused to split it up. That bill fell due on that measure.

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TBL goals 3-1: Hagel (Kucherov, Hedman) 13:36

The easiest empty net goal in NHL history iced the game.

TBL EN Goal 4-1: Hagel (Kucherov, Cole) 17:19

Final thoughts

Larsen continues to prove that he is not cut out as a coach in today’s NHL. For six straight periods, this team has struggled offensively against good teams, yet he continues to distribute ice time in the same way. The least impactful lines played the most minutes offensively. The best line played the least number of minutes.

Gaudreau remains super-glued to Jenner, even when Jenner has a bad night. There are some nights Jenner plays well, and his stat line is proof of that, but there are other times, like the last two games, where he’s a boat anchor. Gaudreau is one of the best players in the world and he is completely useless when Jenner has a bad night. It is unacceptable.

Tarasov played very well despite what the statistics showed when the match ended.

There were positives in this game, but it’s hard to see past the fact that the coach is playing not to lose by not changing his strategy until the team loses in the third period.

Next

The Blue Jackets face the Boston Bruins, the best team in the league, in Boston on Saturday. The puck drops at 1:00 PM ET.

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