Heading into game four, the Blue Jackets will need to go back to what they did in game two if they want to tie the series. Come out ahead early and lock it down. Keep shots to the outside and forecheck the Lightning hard. They’ll also need Joonas Korpisalo to continue to stand on his head like he has all series.
The Lightning will need to continue what they’ve done to take the series lead. Fire shots on Korpisalo, make him make a save and try to penetrate their defensive wall. They’ll need to be relentless and play to their offensive strength and let Andrei Vasilevskiy play like the Vezina-calibre goaltender he is.
Columbus came out stronger than they have in any of the previous three games. They were obviously trying desperately to tie the series. At just under six minutes into the opening frame, Cedric Paquette took a tripping minor. On the ensuing power play, they were unable to get one, only registering one shot on goal. They did just about everything besides score for the entirety of the period.
At the end of the first, shots were 11-7 in favour of Columbus. They’ll need to carry this momentum to the second period if they want to win this game.
… And they didn’t take my advice. Sixteen seconds into the second period, Blake Coleman bats a puck at the side of the net between the legs of Boone Jenner towards the front of the net. Barclay Goodrow is on the receiving end and makes no mistake, firing the puck past Korpisalo, 1-0 Lightning.
Only minutes later, Kevin Shattenkirk fires the puck from the point, Yanni Gourde – Who is standing in front of the net – deflects the puck under Korpisalo’s glove hand, 2-0 Lightning. Just like that, all the momentum that was in the Blue Jackets’ favour is completely gone.
Or so we thought, minutes after Gourde’s goal, Tyler Johnson and Gustav Nyquist take offsetting minor penalties and makes it 4-on-4. Less than 15 seconds later, Pierre-Luc Dubois steps up and fires a puck on net. Cam Atkinson is there at the doorstep to deflect the puck, it makes some awkward bounces but it gets past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Overall the period was fairly equal, even though the Lightning lead by one goal. At the end of the second, Lightning lead in shots at 11-10 on the period. However, Columbus leads in the game 21-18.
Columbus came out into the third as you’d expect. They were playing hard and trying to come back in this hockey game. After going on the power play and unable to make much happen, Dubois made an unfortunate hit on Alex Killorn. They were both chasing for a puck, Killorn got the jump on Dubois and he pushed him hard into the end boards. Luckily, this didn’t result in a major injury and Dubois was assessed a minor on the play.
The Blue Jackets continued their attack and maintained their pressure throughout the game. Ending the period with a shot lead of 8-4 and 29-22 on the entire game. Lightning lead the series 3-1.
This game was an outlier in comparison to the rest of the series. Columbus maintained consistent pressure on the Lightning and lead in shots by a fairly wide margin. At the end of the day, goals are the only thing that matters and Tampa Bay was able to capitalize on the chances they were given.
Game Five Preview
If Columbus continues this play into the next game, they may be able to live another day and fend off elimination. They were consistent in their effort and even though they out-chanced their counterparts, sometimes the puck doesn’t bounce in your favour. They’ll also need Korpisalo to have a showing like he has the first three games in the series.
Columbus may have been the better team this game but make no mistake, the Lightning have battled hard this series. They’ve been fighting to break through their opponents tight defence and they deserve full credit. They have the chance to eliminate them next game and they should take full advantage of the opportunity. The Lightning have the upper hand and as long as Vasilevskiy stays sharp, they should come out with a win.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Barclay Goodrow
⭐️⭐️ – Andrei Vasilevskiy
⭐️ – Yanni Gourde
⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Pierre-Luc Dubois
⭐️⭐️ – Zach Werenski
⭐️ – Cam Atkinson
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