The Tampa Bay Lightning are undefeated this season against Metropolitan Division opponents and haven’t lost a game in their home building in over a month. It was evident on Tuesday night when they shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets by a final score of 4-0.
The Columbus Blue Jackets had a disappointing outing to start the second half of their season, but it couldn’t have came against a more formidable opponent. The Lightning improved their record to 33-8-2, now outscoring their opponents by 56 goals through 42 games.
The Jackets seemed to be hanging around in the first period, with some scoring chances here and there along with some nice saves from Bobrovsky. That was until Tampa Bay lit the lamp at the 15:55 mark and scored again just 44 seconds later to go up 2-0 heading into the first intermission.
The Blue Jackets were outplayed in the neutral zone throughout the contest, as the Lightning continuously pressured Columbus players to make quick decisions with the puck. That pressure paid off for the Bolts, leading to their third and fourth goals in the third period.
The final score surely didn’t indicate it, but Columbus dominated play in the second period, outshooting Tampa Bay 17-3. The key highlights in the period were an outstanding save by Andrei Vasilevskiy on Artemi Panarin and a shot from Seth Jones that was blocked by a sprawling defenseman.
Usually after a 4-0 defeat the team would be quite disappointed, but the mood wasn’t too bad in the dressing room after the game. The team could tell (just like the fans who watched) that the Lightning are simply on another level compared to all 30 other teams in the National Hockey League. The popular sentiment from the Columbus players was that just 20 minutes (the second period) isn’t good enough against such a quality club, or on any given night for that matter.
Things won’t get a whole lot easier on Thursday night, as the Columbus Blue Jackets will play host to the Nashville Predators.