Skip to main content
First Round

Lightning 'learned a lesson' blowing big lead to Blue Jackets in Game 1

Special-teams mistakes lead to surprising loss

by Corey Long / Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning did not lose a game during their historic regular season when leading by three goals. In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Tampa Bay led by three before losing 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.

"We have a 3-0 lead at home in the playoffs, it should be done and over with," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "So if anything, we learned a lesson tonight. We'll be a lot better. We came out with a purpose, a lot of intensity, we got out to that lead by playing the right way. When you get away from that, against a good hockey team, they are going to make you pay."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Friday at Tampa.


[RELATED: Blue Jackets shock Lightning in Game 1 | Complete series coverage]


After scoring three times in the first period, the Lightning looked like they were going to carry the momentum from their NHL record-tying 62-win regular season into the Eastern Conference First Round. The Lightning this season were 31-1-2 leading after one period and 39-2-2 leading after two.

But poor puck management and special-teams breakdowns in the third period allowed Columbus to score three times, the last a power-play goal by Seth Jones with 5:55 remaining that made it 4-3.

"I wouldn't say [we] relaxed, but we kind of sat back a little bit," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. "In the second period we were up 3-0 and [Nikita Kucherov] had a great look on the power play to make it four. But they got that one back, we turned pucks over, and they gained momentum and got some energy off of that."

Video: CBJ@TBL, Gm1: Jones' PPG puts Blue Jackets ahead

Sloppy passing in the second period led to Nick Foligno's goal that made it 3-1 and gave the Blue Jackets some needed momentum. David Savard's goal at 7:56 of the third period made it 3-2.

The Lightning had a chance to restore a two-goal lead when Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky received a double-minor penalty for high-sticking Lightning center Cedric Paquette at 9:23.

But instead, the NHL's top-ranked power-play couldn't score, and Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson took advantage of a turnover and tied the game 3-3 with a shorthanded goal at 11:54.

Alex Killorn's high-sticking penalty at 12:16 led to Jones' game-winner.

The Lightning lost for the first time in 106 games it held at least a three-goal lead, according to NHL Network.

"The irony of tonight's game is our special teams have been so good this year," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "And in the end, special teams let us down."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.