The Blue Jackets evened their First Round series with the Lightning thanks to goals from Oliver Bjorkstrand and Alexander Wennberg, and another great performance from goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.
After their five-overtime defeat Tuesday, the Blue Jackets looked plenty fresh in Game 2. It was Tampa who got on the board first with a Nikita Kucherov goal 5:24 into the game, but that was all the Lightning would get. Korpisalo followed up his 85-save performance with 36 stops Thursday afternoon.
Ryan Murray tied the game seven minutes after Kucherov’s goal, and then Oliver Bjorkstrand and Pierre-Luc Dubois hooked up on a power play goal for a 2-1 Columbus lead.
With Erik Cernak sitting in the box, the Blue Jackets power play wasted no time cashing in. Bjorkstrand was left unattended by the Tampa penalty kill, so when Alexandre Texier cycled the puck to Dubois behind the net, Bjorkstrand was wide open for a one-timer.
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The Lightning kept pushing for an equalizer, winning the possession game and dominating the front of the net. But Korpisalo was there every time. A pair of power plays, including one late in the third period, also didn’t amount to anything.
Tampa’s failure while pushing for an equalizer led to the stunning solo effort from Wennberg, who delivered the game-breaker with 8:33 to go after dancing around Kevin Shattenkirk.
“It’s not often it works that great,” Wennberg said of the move. “I’m happy it did this one time.”
Through six games, Korpisalo has a .965 even strength percentage and has now stopped 154 of the last 158 shots he’s faced. There’s no one even close to him in the early Conn Smythe Trophy hunt.
Game 3 is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 7 Columbus Blue Jackets (Series tied 1-1)
Tuesday, Aug. 11: Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2 (5OT) (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 13: Blue Jackets 3, Lightning 1
Saturday, Aug. 15: Tampa Bay at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Monday, Aug. 17: Tampa Bay at Columbus, 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Columbus at Tampa Bay – TBD
*Friday, Aug. 21: Tampa Bay at Columbus – TBD
*Saturday, Aug. 22: Columbus at Tampa Bay – TBD
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.