The Blue Jackets snapped their three-game losing streak in their last game with a win over the Lightning, who have lost two in a row.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning have lost five of their last seven games including their last two. They have fallen to third place in the Central Division one point back of the Panthers and two points back of the Hurricanes. While Tampa Bay ranks second in the NHL averaging 3.36 goals per game they have only totaled two goals in losing their last two games.
The Blue Jackets had lost three in a row before beating the Lightning in their last game. They have faced Tampa Bay in three of their last five games winning two of them. The team is in sixth place in the Central 18 points back of the Lighting. Columbus only ranks 27th in the league in goals per game (2.44) and they had totaled four goals in their recent three-game skid before scoring four goals in their last game.
Second Straight Bad LossIn the last game the Lightning lost to the Blue Jackets 4-2 and in their previous game they lost 5-1 to a Detroit Red Wings team that is in the basement of the Central Division. Ross Colton and Luke Schenn each scored in the third period in the losing effort and the team was 0 for 4 on the power play. Andrei Vasilevskiy (23-6-1 2.00 GAA) stopped 26 of 29 shots in the loss and the netminder, who ranks first in the league in save percentage and second in GAA and wins, had only given up three goals in his previous two starts. With backup Curtis McElhinney (3-4-1 3.03 GAA) inured Christopher Gibson (0-1-0 4.41 GAA) may get the call in this game and his first start of the season was in the game before the loss to the Blue Jackets where he gave up four goals on only 17 shots.
Six players for the balanced Lightning team have at least 10 goals with Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point tied for the team lead with 16. Stamkos has not lit the lamp in his last seven games and Point has three goals in his last five games but none in his last three. On the season Tampa Bay is 11-6-2 on the road.
Fast Start Helps Blue Jackets Snap SkidIn the win over the Lightning the Blue Jackets ended their three-game losing streak were up 4-0 and gave up the two goals later in the third period in a game they were outshot 38-30. Four different players scored in the win including Zac Dalpe, who scored his first goal in four and a half years.
From THE Ohio State University ... ZAC DALPEEEE pic.twitter.com/jIlKsdPKtf— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 6, 2021
Joonas Korpisalo (9-11-6. 2.99 GAA) was solid in net stopping 36 of 38 shots and Columbus had lost his previous four starts where he gave up at least three goals in three of them. Elvis Merzlikins (6-7-2 2.83 GAA) may go against the Lightning and he was in goal in two recent games against them where he gave up one goal in the first one in a win and three goals in the second one in a loss.
Oliver Bjorkstrand leads the team with 14 goals and 31 points and he has two goals and no assists in his last five games. Cam Atkinson (13 goals) is the only other player for the club with over eight goals and he had an assist in the last game and has a goal and an assist in his last five games. This season the Blue Jackets are 8-6-6 at home.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are:
- 3-8 in their last 11 home games
- 2-7 in their last 9 overall
- 5-17 in their last 22 games following a win
- 6-16 in their last 22 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game
The Tampa Bay Lightning are:
- 61-20 in their last 81 vs. a team with a losing record
- 21-10 in their last 31 road games
- 52-12 in their last 64 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game