Columbus Blue Jackets Look to Continue Sunshine State Success Against Tampa Bay Lightning


Remember the last time the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning got together to play hockey? Yeah, me neither.

Oh boy, how I wish I were kidding. They met during that near record-breaking streak and, well, it wasn’t pretty. It was 4-0 before Columbus got on the scoreboard, they had lost seven before that and Sergei Bobrovsky was unavailable due to his IR stint. But, things are different this time around.

The Blue Jackets again come in on a streak, but this time a winning(!) streak, after sweeping a home-and-home with the Florida Panthers. Bob is back, they’re showing glimpses of a hockey team that knows what their doing and they now have everyone in the world to prove wrong and show the way they began the season was a fluke.

Also, and maybe this is just me (I know for a fact it isn’t), Columbus had no business winning on Thursday. Blowing a 3-0 lead? Getting outshot 55-20? That’s not how you win hockey games, and it certainly isn’t how you beat a team like the Lightning, who have 1o more wins than you do and are sitting in first place of a division with teams like Boston and Detroit in them – regardless of the year those two teams are having.

Jan 13, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky (17) shoots as Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Anders Lindback (39) makes the save during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Columbus beat Tampa Bay 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Lightning are coming off a home-and-home of their own, with the Buffalo Sabres (which, they actually lost one of those games. So, you’re telling me, there is a chance?) but, despite the loss to the Sabres, they’ve won five of their last six, and have scored four goals or more on four different occasions, including in two of their last three games – most recently, a 5-0 thrashing over the Sabres, proving the previous game was a fluke. This is the top offense in the league, having scored 96 total goals in the season, and they don’t give many up either, lead by a 2.20 goals against average from Ben Bishop. In total, they’re ninth in the league in goals allowed. And, just for good measure, they can kill you when they’re on the power play, sitting at fifth in the league. Of course, the Jackets are also very good on the man advantage, so how fun would it be to see this game come down to it?

If the Jackets want to start truly making people outside of the fanbase pay attention – and even shut up some of us in the fan base – they’re going to have to play out of their minds tonight. Beat Bishop time in and time out. When you get a lead, hold onto it. And, for the love of everything, please please please play 60 minutes of hockey. Puck drops at seven. Feel free to tweet us @UnionandBlue, or comment below, so we can get our gameday conversation early in anticipation of the game!

Next: The Jackets Are Entering A Crucial Stretch. What Needs To Happen For Success?