Lightning vs. Blue Jackets: Top 3 takeaways from Game 3

Pierre-Luc Dubois #18 of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Barclay Goodrow #19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Pierre-Luc Dubois #18 of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Barclay Goodrow #19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 3 and take a 2-1 lead in the series. Here are three takeaways from that match-up.

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets by a misleading score of 3-2. If it weren’t for Joonas Korpisalo (yet again), the game would not even be close. The Lightning dominated all three periods and took Game 3 of the series.

Here are three takeaways from Game 3.

1. Get it to the net

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Before Game 3, Pat Maroon talked about the importance of getting to the net and making Korpisalo’s life as difficult as possible. He told the Tampa Bay Times: “We have to find ways to get to the front of the net and make it difficult, make it hard on the (defense), and especially on the goalie.”

In this game, Maroon led the charge on the fourth line, crashing the net and getting in scrums in front of the Blue Jackets’ netminder. The rest of the team followed suit and they spent a lot of time in the blue paint and shoving defencemen after the whistle was blown.

Near the end of the third period, Ondrej Palat added an extra poke at Korpisalo after he covered up the puck and the goaltender responded by ripping Palat’s helmet off his head. Against a hot goaltender like Korpisalo, these kinds of plays are critical in getting him off his game.

2. Powerplays are momentum killers

The Blue Jackets were unable to score on the powerplay yet again despite four opportunities, including a 5-on-3. Their inability to score on the man advantage is starting to cause problems for the team as now the Lightning are unafraid to crash the net and play aggressively as they know that the Blue Jackets don’t have an answer on the powerplay.

The game started in the Blue Jackets favor, with the team getting quality chances. The Lightning took three consecutive penalties and Columbus did nothing with them, their best chance being Emil Bemstrom‘s shot off the post.

After that, the Lightning took over the game and never looked back. Unless the Blue Jackets can show that they are a threat on the powerplay, Tampa Bay will start to gain more confidence in playing a more aggressive game.

3. Stars show up for Tampa

In Game 2, the Lightning’s stars were silent except for a lone goal from Nikita Kucherov. Game 3 was a much better performance from Tampa’s stars, getting production from both Brayden Point and Victor Hedman. Point’s goal extends his playoff point streak to 6 games making him the first-ever player in franchise history to start the postseason with a 6-game point streak.

Hedman’s snipe ended up being the game-winning goal and considering that it was uncertain whether he would even be available in this series, he has looked very good in the first three games. The Lightning outshot the Blue Jackets 34 to 17 and it would be even more tilted if Columbus hadn’t blocked 24 shots.

This was a near-perfect game for Tampa Bay and they have regained the series lead. The Blue Jackets were a step behind all game long and it will be interesting to see if the fatigue of playing so much hockey in such a condensed time period has started to catch up to them.

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Game 4 is huge as Columbus has yet to lose back-to-back games in the postseason. Will this win swing momentum to the Lightning’s side or will the Blue Jackets just bounce back the way they’ve done all year long?