BLUE JACKETS 1 | LIGHTNING 3
Ryan Murray Post-Game
Jordan Leopold Post-Game
Todd Richards Post-Game
Ryan Johansen Goal
ANALYSIS: The scoreboard remains the same after two periods at Amalie Arena (1-0 for Tampa) but you can't fault the Blue Jackets for a lack of opportunities in this game. They've had one power play but generated six shots on goal, peppering Ben Bishop with traffic in front of him, but to this point, nothing has gotten past the big Lightning goaltender. The period was punctuated by a terrific pad save by McElhinney on Ryan Callahan, who caught the Jackets napping on a clear-cut breakaway attempt on the power play. Other than that, the second period was heavily tilted in the Blue Jackets' favor, and they brought their work boots on the forecheck and through the neutral zone. Shots are 23-19 favoring Columbus.
ANALYSIS: Things were going fairly well for the Blue Jackets in the first period, but a minor and brief defensive zone breakdown allowed the Lightning to open the scoring late in the frame. A failed clearing attempt allowed Brenden Morrow to spot Brett Connolly at the front of the net, and a quick re-direct beat Curtis McElhinney for a 1-0 lead. The first 15 minutes were solid for Columbus, taking away Tampa's stretch passes and standing up in the neutral zone to cause confusion for the Lightning. The late goal stings, but there's 40 minutes left to continue what they started early in the game.
Nick Foligno Pre-game
Ryan Murray Pre-game
Todd Richards Pre-game
UPDATE (11:55 AM): From our own Jody Shelley, here are the Blue Jackets' lines and pairs for tonight's game:
It's another Jackets game day in the Sunshine State!
The Blue Jackets look to make up for Thursday night's loss to the Panthers by pulling off their second victory this season in Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena. The Lightning have won four of their last five games coming into Saturday, but the Blue Jackets will welcome back one of their best defenseman to help slow down the best offensive team in the league.
Ryan Murray was activated off of injured reserve yesterday afternoon and appears ready to go for tonight's game. Murray has played only four games this season, not dressing for Columbus until Oct. 26 as he recovered from a knee injury, and then coming back out of the lineup after Nov. 1 after a set-back with the same knee.
Murray is now deemed ready to go and his knee is at full strength. He's the second Jacket to return from long-term injury on this road trip, after Artem Anisimov returned from a torn triceps muscle on Thursday night in Sunrise.
Here are some story lines to sink into on this game day...
- With Murray returning to the lineup, forward Josh Anderson was returned to Springfield. That may not be the last move the Blue Jackets need to make with a new healthy defenseman. With Murray returning, the Jackets now have nine healthy defenseman and only 12 healthy forwards.
- Curtis McElhinney will likely start for the third straight game. Despite the losing effort in Florida, McElhinney was strong, making several difficult stops and most notably a pad save on Brad Boyes from the doorstep that kept Columbus in the game midway through the third. He's 4-1-0 in his last five appearances.
- Lightning backup goalie Evgeni Nabokov was the only goaltender on the ice for Tampa Bay's morning skate, indicating Ben Bishop will likely get the start for the Bolts tonight. Bishop is 25-8-2 on the season with a .913 save percentage and a 2.36 goals-against average.