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GAME 1 FINAL: Blue Jackets 4, Lightning 3

Columbus rallies from 3-0 deficit to take series lead

by Jeffrey Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

Columbus rallied to a Game 1 victory Wednesday night in its first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series with Tampa Bay, overturning an early 3-0 hole to capture a 4-3 victory in a stunned Amalie Arena to take a 1-0 series lead. 

Game in a Paragraph 

Fresh off a 62-win regular season, tied for the most in NHL history, Tampa Bay waited little time to seize control, taking a 3-0 lead after one period of play. Columbus had sustained stretches of play and drew one back in the second period, then scored twice in the third to tie the game before Seth Jones' power-play goal with 5:55 to play went down as the game winner. 

GAME 1 HUB: Highlights, video, and news from Game 1

CBJ Notables 

  • Nick Foligno scored for the Blue Jackets and added a team-high eight hits. 
  • Defenseman David Savard, who had a 4-5-9 line in the last 12 regular-season games, tallied his first career postseason goal in 18 games.  
  • Josh Anderson tallied a shorthanded goal to tie the game in the third after finishing the season with 11 points in his last 13 games.  
  • Jones tallied his second career playoff goal and played 25:21 of action.  

Quick Recap 

Tampa Bay didn't waste time taking the early lead, as the Bolts were on top 4:12 into the game after shorthanded goal. The Blue Jackets turned the puck over at the blue line and Alex Killorn had a 120-foot breakaway, going forehand then backhand to lift a puck over Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 1-0. 

It was 2-0 at 11:01 as Anthony Cirelli tallied. A blast from the center point by Erik Cernak was spilled by Bobrovsky, and Cirelli was alone in front to collect and fire the rebound into the net. 

Another puck was cleared out of the crease by Markus Nutivaara with about five minutes left, and Columbus shortly thereafter got its best chance of the period as Alexandre Texier stole the puck to create his own breakaway, but the rookie forward was denied by Andrei Vasilevskiy. 

Then, with 2:10 left in the period, it was 3-0. A fumbled clear by the Jackets allowed the Lightning to keep the puck in the zone, and finally Mikhail Sergachev fired from the top of the slot and Yanni Gourde deflected it home from right in front of Bobrovsky. 

The goalie did keep it a three-goal game early in the second with an incredible power-play stop, sliding side to side to deny Nikita Kucherov on a 2-on-0 feed from Steven Stamkos. Bobrosky also made a nice stop on Cirelli later in the period, allowing the Jackets to get a goal back near the midway point of the frame, 

It was captain Nick Foligno who got the goal, as an attempted pass by the Lightning in the offensive zone was broken up by Josh Anderson, and Foligno picked up the puck for a breakaway, steaming in and beating Vasilevskiy to the blocker to make it 3-1. 

Columbus pushed for more in the second but couldn't beat Vasilevskiy again, and the Russian netminder made a big pad stop on a Cam Atkinson shot after Foligno's goal. Bobrovsky also came up big late in the period, including back-to-back stops on Cirelli and J.T. Miller and a stop at the horn on Stamkos to keep it a two-goal game. 

Savard then made it a 3-2 game with 12:04 to play, taking a puck with speed in the neutral zone, jetting by Victor Hedman and then firing quickly by Vasilevskiy as he hit the right dot to cut the Tampa lead to one. 

Brandon Dubinsky, though, took a double minor for high sticking with 10:37 to go, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Anderson's shorthanded goal with 8:06 left tied the score at 3. Boone Jenner played him out of the zone with speed and Anderson skated the length of the ice, cut to the middle with Savard driving to the net, waited out Vasilevskiy and scored through his legs. 

Columbus then took the lead with 5:55 to play as Jones tallied on the power play with Killorn in the box for high sticking. Matt Duchene kept the puck in the zone on an attempted clear, then Artemi Panarin fed Jones cutting into the slot for a wrister past Vasilevskiy. 

Pierre-Luc Dubois had a chance at the empty net blocked late in the game, but Savard went on to hold the puck in the corner late in the game to keep Tampa from scoring, and Columbus finished it off from there.

PLAYOFF CENTRAL: Your one-stop location for news, notes, videos, and more

By the Numbers 

Bobrovsky finished with 26 saves. ... Foligno earned his seventh career playoff goal. … Columbus' strong penalty kill work, which ended the season with kills in 86 of the last 94 opposing power plays (91.5 percent), continued as the Jackets stopped three Tampa chances including the double minor. … Kucherov, the NHL points leader and the league's top regular-season scorer since the 1996 season, was kept off the score sheet just 20 times in 82 regular-season games. … Columbus has a 1-0 series lead for the second straight season. ... Columbus had won 25 games on the road in the regular season, second in the NHL behind Tampa Bay. ... The Blue Jackets rallied to win from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff game for the second time (Game 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 2014). ... The Blue Jackets have allowed at least three goals in every playoff game in franchise history. … The game was the 200th consecutive sellout including playoffs in Amalie Arena.

Roster Report 

Columbus had no surprises in its Game 1 lineup, scratching forwards Alexander Wennberg, Markus Hannikainen, Lukas Sedlak and Eric Robinson; injured defenseman Adam McQuaid (upper body) as well as Adam Clendening and Andrew Peeke; and goaltenders Keith Kinkaid and Elvis Merzlikins. 

Up Next 

Game 2 of the series will be Friday night in Tampa at 7 p.m. 

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