The Columbus Blue Jackets hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday in what should have been a festive atmosphere at Nationwide Arena. Before the half-way point of the game, however, the highest-scoring team in the National Hockey League showed off their offensive prowess and took the game over.
The Blue Jackets and Lightning played a scoreless first period, and it was one that CBJ head coach John Tortorella mentioned after the game was how his team needs to play. Things went downhill quickly after the first intermission.
Before the ten-minute mark of the second period, the game was essentially out of reach.
At the 1:22 mark, Lightning center Tyler Johnson took a pass from Brayden Point and beat Joonas Korpisalo to make it 1-0 Tampa Bay. Just over three minutes later, Johnson, again from Point, beat Korpisalo one more time to make it 2-0.
After the game, Nick Foligno kept it simple commenting on the relentlessness of the Lightning.
They smelled blood.
Just prior to the eight-minute mark of the second period, Tampa Bay kept piling it on.
Nikita Kucherov extended his league lead in points with his 25th goal of the year. Less than a minute later, Cory Conacher made it 4-0. Thankfully for the CBJ, it wouldn’t get any worse for the remainder of the period.
Tortorella didn’t put much of the blame on Korpisalo after the game, saying:
We just lost ourselves.
Korpisalo’s performance on Sunday ended his streak of four-straight games allowing two or fewer goals. He didn’t get much help in front of him in the second period, as indicated by the shots on goal. In the first when the CBJ played well, they led shots 12-5. In the second, the Lightning outshot the Jackets 23-6.
The Blue Jackets were unable to crawl back into the game in the third period. With 9:24 remaining in the game, Steven Stamkos added a power-play goal to make it 5-0–a score that would stand for the remainder of the game.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who held the CBJ scoreless in a victory at Nationwide Arena in October, recorded his fifth shutout of the season on Sunday evening.
Considering how the team’s played the last week or so, CBJ captain Nick Foligno wasn’t any more or less concerned about their play:
I don’t think it’s anything eye opening for us. It’s just, that’s how we’ve been playing.
There won’t be much celebrating for the Blue Jackets as they head into the new year. They’ll fly to Dallas next to take on the Stars on Tuesday night to begin a stretch of four out of five games on the road.