The Columbus Blue Jackets wrap up their three game southern road trip with another embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
That wasn’t fun for anyone in union blue. Those clad in a less shade of blue though went home happy as they have done seemingly ever night in the month of December. The Tampa Bay Lightning embarrassed the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 last night in Florida.
The crushing loss came as a result of a lifeless first period that led to the Lightning scoring two goals within a minute. The opening goal from Mathieu Joseph was all the needed as Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves in the shutout.
The Jackets first period was lifeless and uninspired. They were outshot, out-skated, and outplayed all around. Columbus only managed three solid scoring opportunities and were on their heels all period.
Columbus Blue Jackets
In the second they turned it around and actually controlled the pace of play. They generated 17 shots and stuffed the Lightning who only had three shots on net in the second period. They weren’t able to generate any outstanding scoring opportunities and exuded too much energy to not yield any results.
At the start of the third with the Jackets down 2-0, it was announced that Brandon Dubinsky and Markus Hannikainen would not be returning to the game. That effectively cut their bench to three lines as Riley Nash wasn’t getting ice time.
At that point, the game was all but over. Sergei Bobrovsky would give up two more goals before being pulled. The Lightning ended the game with a dominating 4-0 performance that felt more like a 9-0 beatdown.
The eye opening take away from last nights game was how few chances Tampa Bay needed to get great scoring opportunities and how hard the Jackets had to work to get such low quality chances. All night long the Lightning could just flip a switch and have fantastic scoring opportunities out of no where.
The Jackets, on the other hand, had to grind out 31 shots, none of them as close to going in as most of Tampa’s chances. They don’t have the game-breaking speed and skill that the Lightning have and it clearly showed.
While I am not ready to write off the Jackets as a Stanley Cup contender because of this game, it was undoubtedly a smack in the face for the team. They have two more big test this week against legitimate contenders in the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals. If those games play out like tonight, then we will know that the Jackets aren’t playing on the same level as the true championship contenders.