Lightning hold off Blue JacketsDec 18, 2011 - 4:16 AM
Blair Jones and Eric Brewer lit the lamp for the Lightning, who got 26 saves from former Blue Jacket Mathieu Garon. Tampa Bay has won back-to-back games after dropping its previous two.
"I just wanted to play it as a regular game," Garon said of facing his former team. "I think we played a good game and getting the win was huge for us."
R.J. Umberger and Rick Nash scored, while Vinny Prospal added a pair of assists for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four of their last five contests. Steve Mason stopped 25-of-28 shots in defeat.
Holding a 2-1 lead, Stamkos' game-winner came at 10:05 of the second period when the star winger got a perfect feed from Vincent Lecavalier in the left circle and snapped a quick shot past Mason for a 3-1 advantage.
Columbus showed resiliency and came up with an answer just over two minutes later when Nash picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and raced up the right wing into Lightning territory. He dished to Jeff Carter, who fired one that was stopped by Garon, but Nash picked up the rebound, brought it around the back of the net and stuffed it into the other side to make it 3-2.
Columbus pulled Mason in favor of the extra attacker with a minute to go in regulation, but was unable to generate any significant offensive pressure.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring at 7:27 of the opening stanza when Teddy Purcell chased down a loose puck behind the net and found Jones, who chipped it home from in close.
The Lightning made it 2-0 at 18:12 of the first period when Stamkos controlled the puck in the left circle and sent a cross-ice pass to a wide open Brewer, who slapped it through traffic and past Mason from the right point.
The Blue Jackets answered at 5:43 of the second period on the power play when Umberger accepted a nice saucer pass from Prospal in front of the net, took it around behind and stuffed it into an open cage.
"We kept it close, but made too many mistakes in the first period," Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel said. "You can't get behind in this league. We had chances early on but couldn't beat their goaltender and we have to find a way to do that, especially when we have the momentum early."
Prior to the game, Prospal was honored for reaching 1,000 games played in his career...Saturday marked the first meeting of the season between the teams...Lightning defenseman Matt Gilroy was scratched with a lower-body injury...Carter had his four-game goal scoring streak snapped...Tampa Bay failed on three power play opportunities, while the Blue Jackets went 1-for-5 with the man advantage...Columbus will face the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, while the Lightning will head west to tangle with the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
- TAMPA BAY: 3
Dec 17 9:41 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 3
End of 2nd
Dec 17 8:43 PM
- Columbus Goal - Rick Nash (10), from Jeff Carter and Vinny Prospal at 12:14.
Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2 2nd - 7:46Dec 17 8:30 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Steven Stamkos (20), at 10:05.
Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 1 2nd - 9:55Dec 17 8:24 PM
- Samuel Pahlsson wrist shot is wide.
Lightning 2, Blue Jackets 1 2nd - 12:37Dec 17 8:20 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 2
End of 1st
Dec 17 7:50 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Eric Brewer, at 18:12.
Lightning 2, Blue Jackets 0 1st - 1:48Dec 17 7:47 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Blair Jones (2), at 7:26.
Lightning 1, Blue Jackets 0 1st - 12:34Dec 17 7:26 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Dec 17 7:13 PM
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