Tampa Bay vs Columbus Match Preview

Tampa Bay vs Columbus Match Preview

Ryan Knupp
2 years ago
3 min read

Tuesday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets were returning home from a dismal 1-5 road trip to face the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Already five points out of a playoff spot, it had a chance to be a very tough night for Ohio hockey fans, but instead, it wasn’t.

Former Ohio St star Zac Dalpe was given a rare start with the big club in place of the injured Riley Nash. All Dalpe did was score his first NHL goal in 1,629 days (4.5 years) and then watch Ohio native Jack Ruslovic chip in with a goal and an assist of his own, as the Blue Jackets beat the Lightning 4-2 for their second win in their last five games.

Despite outshooting Columbus 38-30, Tampa Bay fell behind 4-0 on their way to an eventual 4-2 loss. The Lightning started the night in second place in the Central Division, only two points behind the Florida Panthers. However, a Carolina win has since vaulted them into second place, one point ahead of Tampa Bay.

Season Series

This will be the sixth meeting between these two teams this year; currently, Columbus holds a narrow 3-2 series lead.

Jan 21 @ Columbus - Lightning won 3-2 in OT

Jan 23 @ Columbus - Blue Jackets won 5-2

March 30 @ Tampa Bay - Blue Jackets won 3-1

April 1 @ Tampa Bay - Lightning won 3-2

April 6 @ Columbus - Blue Jackets won 4-2

Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is 5-5 over their last ten games but have only two wins in their last seven starts. In their last two starts, Tampa Bay has lost 5-1 to Detroit and 4-2 to Columbus.

Offensively the Lightning do lead the division in goals scored this year. They have scored 132 goals in 39 games and are averaging 3.36 goals/game. The Lightning have the best goal differential in the Central division with a +35.

Tampa Bay Injuries

Other than star forward Nikita Kucherov, who has been sidelined with an injury all year, the Lightning find themselves relatively healthy at this point of the season and shouldn’t be missing any of their key regulars.

Columbus

The Blue Jackets have won only three games in their last ten starts. Prior to the win on Tuesday night, Columbus had dropped seven of their last eight games.

The last two wins for Columbus have come against the Lightning. In both those games, Tampa Bay registered 38 shots on net and outshot Columbus 38-30 and 38-21, but it was the Blue Jackets who found ways to win.

Columbus has 30 fewer goals than the Lightning this year, and their goal differential is -29, compared to Tampa Bay’s +35.

Columbus Injuries

Already dealing with long-term injuries to forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Gustav Nyqvist, Columbus has lost forward Riley Nash and Boone Jenner to injuries and will be without some key forwards for the next few weeks.

Game Odds

Tampa Bay ML - 200

Columbus ML - +175

Over / Under - 5.5 (-125 Under)

In their last two games, the normally defensively sound Lightning have given up nine goals against teams who have struggled to score all year. (Detroit and Columbus) I’m sure head coach Jon Cooper mentioned something about that during the off-day Wednesday to his team.

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