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game recap

Blue Jackets hand Lightning first loss of season after trading Dubois

Score three in first, Merzlikins makes 30 saves to split two-game set

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Foligno cleans up rebound

TBL@CBJ: Foligno fires rebound past Vasilevskiy

Nick Foligno crashes the net and sends a rebound past Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie the game at 1 in the 1st period

  • 00:40 •

COLUMBUS -- The Tampa Bay Lightning lost for the first time this season, 5-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday.

Eric Robinson had a goal and an assist, and Elvis Merzlikins made 30 saves for the Blue Jackets (2-2-2), who split two games with the Lightning (3-1-0).

"I just really liked the structure of our team tonight," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We've been a team just lacking that structure."

Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning.

"That's as bad a game as we've had," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I haven't seen us play that poorly since before the first pause (in March 2020). We weren't in sync at all. Nobody really gave us much in the game. Egregious turnovers, something that was not a trademark of ours anywhere in our playoff run."

Video: TBL@CBJ: Hedman scores between-the-legs goal

The Blue Jackets played about three hours after trading top-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to the Winnipeg Jets for forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

"I don't think relief is the right word," Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said of the trade. "It just puts the focus back on what matters and that's winning hockey games. I think that's what was most frustrating about it.

"[Dubois] wasn't giving us the brand of hockey we expect out of every guy."

Hedman gave Tampa Bay the lead at 4:10 of the first period. 

The puck bounced around and landed on Hedman's stick. While trying to shoot, Columbus forward Boone Jenner lifted his stick but Hedman managed to get the puck to the net where Merzlikins was unable to handle it.

Foligno's goal 17 seconds later tied it 1-1. Cam Atkinson charged toward the net and drew a delayed penalty. He got a shot off and Foligno from the left side put in the rebound. 

Mikhail Grigorenko gave Columbus a 2-1 lead at 10:03 of the first, poking in the puck after a shot from the right circle by Kevin Stenlund trickled behind Vasilevskiy.

Video: TBL@CBJ: Grigorenko sweeps home loose puck

It was the first NHL goal for Grigorenko since April 4, 2017, against the Chicago Blackhawks while playing for the Colorado Avalanche. He played the previous three seasons in Russia in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Tampa Bay defenseman Mikhail Sergachev said he didn't think the Blue Jackets played differently after the Lightning won 3-2 in overtime Thursday.

"They played the same way. They always play hard. They haven't changed a bit," he said. "It's on us. We were sloppy at times and not focused, myself included. I was sloppy. It was probably the worst game of my career. They capitalized on our sloppiness, turnovers."

Vladislav Gavrikov extended the Columbus lead to 3-1 with 59 seconds left in the first by taking a pass from Liam Foudy in the high slot and scoring his first goal with a wrist shot.

A power-play goal by Ondrej Palat made it 3-2 with 14 seconds remaining in the first period. He was alone at the left post to tap-in of a pass by Brayden Point.

Zach Werenski made it 4-2 at 6:34 of the third period. He had a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Alexandre Texier. It was Werenski's first goal. 

The score came after the Blue Jackets were able to pin the Lightning in the zone.

Robinson scored into an empty net at 18:12 to make it 5-2.

NOTES: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak was injured and left the game after his shift ended at 14:52 of the first period. Cooper said Cernak will be evaluated and had no further update. … Tampa Bay forward Mitchell Stephens was injured at 3:48 of the third after getting tangled with Columbus defenseman David Savard. "It looks like he won't be coming back anytime soon. Again, speculation," Cooper said … Stenlund and Nathan Gerbe each had an assist in their season debuts for the Blue Jackets.

Video: Blue Jackets defeat Lightning, 5-2

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