The Tampa Bay Lightning, more specifically, Nikita Kucherov, conducted business as usual in a Monday night win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The win carries the Lightning to a six-game winning streak. They’ve now won six of seven games against the Blue Jackets.
Nikita Kucherov: Essential
Kucherov had a role in every single point scored on the Lightning’s end. The 25-year-old dominated, scoring two goals and three assists for the night. Despite Columbus outshooting the Lightning 19-6 in the first period, Kucherov still managed two goals. His presence on the ice has become imperative to the Lightning’s success; he leads the NHL with 99 points so far this season.
Center Brayden Point put up an offensive showing of his own, contributing two goals for the effort. Steven Stamkos also scored a goal of his own.
How the Jackets tried their best and did not succeed
The Blue Jackets spent the entire evening struggling to get anything to go. The Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 40 goals, only allowing a Lukas Sedlak goal within the last two minutes of the game. By that point, it was much too late for the Blue Jackets to recover from the Lightning’s offensive domination.
The loss brings them to 0-3 on the season series, with the Lightning outscoring the Blue Jackets 17-3 overall.
Injuries upon injuries
What looked like a pretty win for the Lightning still resulted in injuries on both sides. Two first period injuries affected both teams: the Blue Jackets’ Ryan Murray exited the game with an upper-body injury, while the Lightning’s Victor Hedman left with a lower-body injury. Murray’s absence on defense greatly affected the Blue Jackets’ defense, shorting them five defensemen for the rest of the evening.
Both teams hit the road Tuesday night, with a stop in Philadelphia for the Lightning and the Blue Jackets visiting Montreal.