Blue Jackets Buckle Down To Win Series Opener, 3-1, In Tampa Bay Against the Lightning

Just as you expected, the Columbus Blue Jackets shook off two dismal losses in Detroit to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1, at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night.

Yes, as you knew would happen all along.

After withstanding a Tampa Bay push in the third period, the Blue Jackets got a break with Curtis McElhinney on the bench for an extra attacker. Cam Atkinson knocked a pass out of midair, Nick Foligno hunted the puck down, and Atkinson buried into an empty net to ice the game late in regulation.

Elvis Merzlikins…take a bow. What a performance. He made 38 saves to backstop a big win for Columbus, snapping a four-game skid and sending Tampa Bay to its third straight loss. He was outstanding in net.

The Blue Jackets took a while to get warm to this game, but once they did, it was in the (wait for it) second period.

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That’s right: the second period, also known as Columbus’ house of horrors this season. They were excellent in the middle frame tonight, and as a result, took a 2-0 lead into the third period against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

After a stretch of play that largely tipped in their favor, the Blue Jackets broke the ice 10:49 into the second period. Zach Werenski found the puck at the point, walked the line…

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