Here are the takeaways from this resounding Columbus victory, a triumph that puts the Lightning down two games to none in the best-of-seven series.
- This was an A-plus defensive performance for the Blue Jackets. They put on a clinic with their tight structure. They took away the Lightning's time and space all over the ice and limited Tampa Bay to only a few scoring chances. Unlike Game One, in which Sergei Bobrovsky was forced to make a handful of tough saves, Bobrovsky had a rather routine Game Two. The Blue Jackets blocked 16 shots on the night, which also helped their cause. As did getting an early lead (referenced into the next note) and being able to play from ahead the whole evening.
- It was not a good start for Tampa Bay. The Lightning looked tentative in the early minutes and Columbus took advantage of a d-zone turnover to score the opening goal at 5:15. It wasn't until late in the period that the Lightning found their skating legs (a Brayden Point fight with Zach Werenski was the catalyst), but by that time, they were already down by two goals.
- Special teams have killed the Lightning in this series so far. Since Alex Killorn's shorthanded goal early in Game One, the Lightning have surrendered three power play goals and a shorthanded goal. And they have yet to score on the power play themselves. Columbus turned a 1-0 game into 3-0 with two power play tallies. The 3-0 goal came at 1:28 of the second and effectively ended the Lightning mini-surge that had started with the Point fight late in the first.
- When the Lightning finally scored at 5:00 of the third, they cut the Columbus lead to 3-1 and still had 15 minutes left to chip away at the deficit. They received a power play chance on the shift after the Mikhail Sergachev tally. A goal on that man advantage would have allowed them to build even more momentum. But the Blue Jackets delivered a terrific kill and then scored a fourth goal just over a minute after the penalty ended. That tally effectively ended the Lightning's comeback effort.
Simply put, the Blue Jackets have been the better team through the first two games. The Lightning must find a way to change that narrative as the series shifts to Columbus for Games Three and Four.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1. Matt Duchene - Blue Jackets. Goal and three assists.
2. Zach Werenski - Blue Jackets. Goal and assist.
3. David Savard - Blue Jackets.