Alright, NOW we’re done with Columbus, right?
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 22 shots for the win. He was subpar tonight, but luckily the team picked him up.
11:50 TB Palat (14), (Point)
17:16 CBJ Grigorenko (3), (Gavrikov, Lehtonen)
19:29 CBJ Robinson (6), (Bjorkstrand, Domi)
6:09 TB Joseph (12), (Point, Palat)
0:55 CBJ Robinson (7), (Domi, Bjorkstrand)
2:41 TB Barre-Boulet (1), (Palat, Hedman)(PP)
0:10 TB Hedman (9), (Point)
Victor Hedman, Alex Barre-Boulet, and Ondrej Palat were the game’s three stars.
OK, OK, I thought the last game against Columbus was the last of about a zillion contests against that joy-destroying wasteland of an opponent that makes the game dull, unwatchable, and awful. Nope. They showed back up two games later. Thankfully, I thought the Lightning made this the most watchable of their games against Columbus this season. Take away a bad three minutes to close out the First Period and I thought the Lightning were excellent in this contest. The Second Period, in particular, looked like the Lightning team’s matchups with Columbus in the first round last playoffs when they dominated possession and created chances in waves despite the Blue Jackets’ system. Columbus got some puck luck on their brief Third Period lead, but the Lightning just powered through and quickly got the equalizer and then melted down the Blue Jackets fast in OT to get the winner.
Barre-Boulet had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 6 shots and 2 hits in 17:51. You could see once he got that first goal he was taking some real heat check shots on the power play. I’m not sure how he fits into the playoff picture once Stamkos and Kucherov return, but the Lightning are clearly auditioning him for a regular spot next year. Thus far there’s things to like: he’s got outstanding hockey sense and he looks threatening on the power play. There’s things to work on: first step explosiveness and ability to win some 50/50 pucks on the forecheck.
Ross Colton had 2 shots and 2 hits in 12:16 and was 20% on 5 draws. Not Colton’s most flamboyant game, but I was excited to see the fourth line get back on their game tonight. Mathieu Joseph, in particular, was flying, and the line as a whole got their cycle game going again. If they get back to the form they showed earlier this season and play that way in the postseason, they’re going to be such a weapon for the Lightning in their attempted title defense.