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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets


WATCH: Mark Letestu's PP GWG

GOAL AUDIO: Mark Letestu PP goal

WATCH: Nathan Horton's 200th career goal

GOAL AUDIO: Nathan Horton's 200th career goalRyan Johansen's 17th of the year

Time to flush that second period if you're the Blue Jackets. The Lightning woke up and carried the play in the middle frame, and started to push the pace off the rush with a ton of chances. Columbus is fortunate to be down 2-1 through 40 minutes but they've got some work to do to get back in this one. Tampa out-shot the Blue Jackets 12-7 in the second period and got a pair of goals 57 seconds apart to erase a 1-0 deficit. So far, the power play has let the Jackets down; they're 0-for-4 with a lack of true, high-end chances on the man advantage. They're going to have to win this game 5-on-5, but they've been pretty good at that. 

The Blue Jackets did everything except score in the opening 20 minutes. Their first five minutes were very good, their next five were better and they drew the Lightning into three careless penalties but were unable to convert. Yes, the power play continues to struggle but they got some decent looks - now it's about converting and making opponents pay for taking those penalties. Columbus leads in shots by a 10-9 margin and zone time was fairly lopsided...which means they'll need to work that much harder to break through in the second period. 

INSIDE EDGE: Bob & Jody break down tonight's game vs. the Lightning!

WATCH: Nathan Horton, who's played many games against Tampa in his career, breaks down tonight's game with Bob McElligott.

WATCH: Mark Letestu previews tonight's game against the Lightning.

WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards' pre-game press conference.

PRE GAME AUDIO: Nathan Horton | Mark Letestu | Todd Richards

UPDATE (12:25 PM):
Here's the projected lineup for tonight's game against the Lightning...

Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Jenner - Anisimov - Horton
Foligno - Johansen - Umberger
Letestu - MacKenzie - Tropp

Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Savard


UPDATE (11:22 AM):
Richards confirmed during his media scrum that Bobrovsky will start tonight. The Lightning are expected to start Anders Lindback in net.

UPDATE (11:20 AM):
One lineup change for Columbus tonight, as Corey Tropp returns to the lineup in place of Dalton Prout.

UPDATE (10:20 AM):
Sergei Bobrovsky starting in goal for the Blue Jackets tonight.

UPDATE (10:10 AM):
The morning skate is underway at Nationwide Arena and all healthy bodies are present and accounted for. Lots of power play work this morning and a new combination being tried out: Anisimov-Johansen-Horton as a forward unit with Murray-Wisniewski on the back end.

 The Blue Jackets are back in Columbus having won their third straight game on Saturday night in Winnipeg. The Blue Jackets are scheduled to take the ice for their morning skate at 10AM Monday at Nationwide Arena, we'll have complete game day coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Lightning, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!

The Blue Jackets don't anticipate many changes in terms of the lineup for Monday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Corey Tropp, a healthy scratch Saturday night in Winnipeg, could return to the lineup on the fourth line, but we'll know more after the morning skate.

No injury returns to report or any of that nature, which makes this section a bit boring, but hey...that's a good thing! 

Look for Sergei Bobrovsky to make the start in goal for the Blue Jackets. 

One of the most-followed stories in the NHL this season has been the Lightning's ability to stay not just in playoff position, but in the Atlantic Division race in the absence of superstar Steven Stamkos.

It's a credit to both head coach Jon Cooper and a cast of rookies - many of whom won a Calder Cup championship with Cooper in the AHL - for working together, staying within themselves and playing a simple-yet-aggressive game that's causing problems for opponents.

Their last outing, a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, was a prime example of what the Lightning can do. Playing a red-hot team like the Flyers (who had won 10 straight home games) in their building is no easy task, but the Lightning struck early, weathered a storm in the second period, and held down the fort in the third.

Monday's game is the second meeting of the season between Columbus and Tampa Bay, and the first one (Dec. 3 at Nationwide Arena) was certainly eventful. 

Nick Foligno stole the show with a highlight-reel, between-the-legs goal - the only goal of the game - in the second period, but that was also the game that saw Bobrovsky leave early due to injury. The Blue Jackets had to hang on in the third period, particularly in the minutes after Bobrovsky departed, but they were able to lock up the two points and stay on a mini-roll.

Tonight, they'll need a similar effort to what they've gotten over the past 10 days. It's the third game in four nights for Columbus, which has three days off after Monday's game before facing the Washington Capitals on Friday night at Nationwide Arena.


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