It was a goalie battle.
Actually, it was a Russian goalie battle and the Tampa Bay Lightning came out on top thanks to theirs: Andrei Vasilevskiy.
He made 43 saves. He notched his first shutout of the season, fifth of his career. He spoiled the evening for the Blue Jackets, who came into this 2-0 loss to the Lightning riding a four-game winning streak.
Sergei Bobrovsky played well, too, making some beauties among his 19 saves, but as Nick Foligno aptly put it afterward: "We just didn't give 'Bob' the run coverage he needed."
Yep, the Jackets' captain went baseball for a hockey game in October. His assessment was dead on, too, for the complete-game shut out Vasilevskiy pitched.
Here's how it went down:
Goals: TBL - Mikhaeil Sergachev (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov
Shots: Lightning 13, Blue Jackets 10
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Lightning 60.6% (20-13), Blue Jackets 39.4% (13-20)
The Skinny: It wasn't all Lighting, but Tampa Bay did get the better of it in the opening 20 minutes.
The Lightning made Sergei Bobrovsky work hard to keep it a 0-0 tie for most of the period, until one finally got past him for Sergachev's first NHL goal with 2:12 left in the period.
The Jackets did kill off a power play, which is no small feat against a team that had a power-play goal in all seven games they'd played coming into this one. Columbus also had a couple good scoring chances, which made Vasilevskiy dance a couple times in his crease to keep the Blue Jackets off the scoreboard
1:10 - Panarin had a shot blocked from the left wing by Dan Girardi, but the puck came back to him for a nice pass to Werenski in the high slot. Werenski fired it, but the net had come loose, negating the play even if he'd beaten Vasilevskiy - which he didn't.
1:47 - Josh Anderson is a big dude. He plays a big dude's game, too. That doesn't mean he's slow, which he proved with a burst of speed through the neutral zone to spring himself for a backhand shot from close range. Vasilevskiy slid over to the right post and stopped it, but that was a reminder of what Anderson is capable of doing sometimes.
2:51 - Three hits by the Lightning led to a pair of Blue Jackets turnovers and two good scoring chances for Tampa Bay's fourth line. Ryan Callahan had the best one, but Bobrovsky stonewalled him with a big stick save.
4:59 - That Anderson guy showed his physical prowess again for the Jackets, only this time it was for doing what big dudes on skates are supposed to do. He collided with equally large Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman behind the Lightning net, which hobbled Hedman for a couple shifts.
9:33 - Jackets defenseman David Savard took a hit from Ryan Callahan near the end boards in the defensive zone, and wasn't thrilled with it. So, he crosschecked Callahan, who fell to the ice and drew a crosschecking minor - and the game's first power play. Thanks to yeoman's work by Matt Calvert, the Jackets killed it off to keep it 0-0.
13:05 - Had it not been for Sergachev's late goal, this would've been the highlight of the first. Bobrovsky made back-to-back saves against Yanni Gourde and Brayden Point, with a sprawling save on his stomach to stop the second one -Point's attempt off a rebound.
16:18 - The guy who came into the game with a seven-game goal streak to start the season, Nikita Kucherov, took a hard, low slapper from the top of the left face-off circle. Bobrovsky was up to the task, and turned it away.
17:48 - (GOAL) Namestnikov crunched Cam Atkinson in the corner. The puck was kicked out to Sergachev at the left point for a slap shot, and it evaded Bobrovsky after going past a screen in front of the net.
20:00 - Chris Kunitz was called for slashing Jones at the end of the period. The Jackets got a power play out of it to start the second, but weren't able to score.
Goals: TBL - Mikhaeil Sergachev (Kucherov, Steven Stamkos)
Shots: Blue Jackets 18, Lightning 5
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets 67.6%(23-11), Lightning 32.4% (11-23)
The Skinny: The Blue Jackets did everything they wanted to do, except for two big things.
They didn't score a goal, despite putting 13 more shots on net than Tampa Bay. They also let in a goal, despite allowing just five shots to get through to Bobrovsky.
Columbus also went 0-for-2 on power plays, which made them 0-for-17 since opening night, when defenseman Zach Werenski score on the Jackets' first power play of the season.
0:00 - The first of those power plays for the Jackets was right off the hop, courtesy of Kunitz's slashing minor to end the second. Lack of shots, the same issue that's vexed the Columbus power play throughout its slump, reared its ugly head once again. Panarin got the lone shot on goal during the man-advantage, and the Lighting remained ahead 1-0.
2:00 to 10:02 - Following the power play, the Jackets turned up the heat on Vasilevskiy at even strength. Over the next eight minutes, they outshot the Lightning 7-1 and forced the Lightning goal to make two saves in the span of seven seconds off shots by Panarin and Calvert, keeping Tampa up 1-0.
12:14 - Hedman trips Atkinson to give the Jackets their second power play of the game and period. Once again, Columbus only managed to put one shot - taken by Oliver Bjorkstrand - on net. The Lighting actually matched it while shorthanded, when Werenski's giveaway in the defensive zone led to a shot by Gourde getting an open shot on Bobrovsky.
15:37 - Kucherov proved dangerous yet again, without scoring a goal. The red hot Lightning forward found Sergachev open in the high slot with a pass, and the young Russian defenseman did the rest. Sergachev glided down the slot, picked a corner and buried his second goal of the night and his NHL career to make it 2-0.
17:28 - Atkinson had back-to-back chances to get the Jackets on the board, with back-to-back shots a second apart, but Vasilevskiy again made the saves. The Lightning carried a two-goal cushion into the second intermission.
Goals: TBL - None; CBJ - None
Shots: Blue Jackets 15, Lightning 3
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets 73.9% (17-6), 26.1% (6-17)
The Skinny: You can't blame the Blue Jackets for lack of effort in the final 20 minutes.
They carried over their domination of the second period, and even picked it up another notch. They just weren't able to get the puck past Vasilevskiy, who made some high-caliber saves to keep Columbus off the scoreboard.
1:31 - Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno was whistled for tripping, which put the Lightning back on the power play for the second time in the game. That's not exactly the way Columbus hoped to start the third, already down by a pair. Thanks to a couple of great saves by Bobrovsky, the Jackets again kept one of the NHL's most potent power plays from scoring.
8:09 - Another Lighting penalty. Another Blue Jackets power play. Another time with an extra attacker that went by the wayside. Once again, Columbus got just one shot on net, and Vasileskiy stopped it.
8:00 to the end - Columbus poured everything possible into the final eight minutes, looking for a goal to spark another late comeback win. The Jackets won by comeback in the first three games of their four-game win streak, but couldn't pull out any magic this time. They outshot the Lightning 10-0 in the final 10:01 of the third, but came up empty. Their best opportunity was a 20-second span that began with 6:50 left to play, when Markus Nutivaara, Foligno and Seth Jones each put shots on net.
QUOTE: "He robbed us a couple times, but we started to play well in the second and third. Coming across, there were a couple cross-ice passes where you thought it was open, and he'd be right there. He's a good goaltender, and he won the battle tonight." - Anderson on Vasilevskiy