Stamkos scores 2, Lightning beat Blue Jackets 5-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Steven Stamkos scored twice, and Corey Perry and Ross Colton each had a goal and an assist, as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 Friday for their first win of the season.
Cal Foote also scored for the Lightning, and Vladislav Namestnikov, Alex Killorn and Mikhail Sergachev each added two assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots.
“It was a well-rounded game,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “It was something we needed, and now we’re just going to have to carry it into tomorrow.”
Johnny Gaudreau got his first goal since signing with the Blue Jackets in the offseason, and Gus Nyquist also scored for Columbus. Daniil Tarasov remained winless in seven NHL appearances, finishing with 34 saves.
Columbus dropped its first two games for the third time in four seasons and the seventh time in franchise history. The Blue Jackets were playing their first game without star forward Patrik Laine, who injured his shoulder in the opening loss against Carolina and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.
“We were sloppy,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “We weren’t good enough tonight….We had some bad bounces but that’s not why we lost tonight. We lost because they were the better team.”
Colton picked up a loose puck in the right circle and quickly fired a shot past Tarasov to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead with 1:05 left in the opening period.
Foote’s deflection of a pass from Colton went off the right skate of Blue Jackets defenseman Jake Bean and in past Tarasov to push Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-2 at 7:45 of the second.
Columbus failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 powerplay to end the second period, before Stamkos got his second of the night and third in two games this season to make it a three-goal game at 7:57 of the third.
“Whenever you kill a 5-on-3, it’s a boost to the team and gives you energy,” Namestnikov said.
Gaudreau put Columbus on the board at 2:21 of the first, taking a behind-the-net feed from Justin Danforth and burying it past Vasilevskiy to earn chants of “Johnny! Johnny!” from the sellout crowd.
“I thought, we had a good start,” Gaudreau said. “In the second they kind of took it to us to us. We lost focus. We just weren’t making the right plays in our D-zone.”
Perry and Stamkos scored 1:13 apart late in the opening period to put Tampa Bay ahead. Perry tied it with a power-play goal with 5:52 left for the 406th score of his career, tying him with Rod Gilbert and John LeClair for the 99th place in NHL history. Stamkos put the Lightning ahead with a shot that bounced off the skate of Columbus defenseman Adam Boqvist into the back of the net.
“You knew they were going to come our hard with their home opener, and you knew their juices would be flowing for them,” Perry said. “The crowd was into it early. They got an earlier one, but we found a way on the power-play to get one right back. We answered and we continue to do the good things.”
Nyquist, however, tied it 34 seconds later with his first of season with just over 4 minutes remaining in the period.
Gaudreau was one of three Blue Jacket players making their Nationwide Arena debuts Friday. He was joined by forward Mathieu Olivier, who was acquired from Nashville via trade, and defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who signed last summer as a free agent and assisted on Nyquist’s goal.
Stamkos (14 goals, 16 assists) has recorded more goals and points against Columbus than any skater in Lightning franchise history and has nine points in his last four games against the Blue Jackets.
Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman played in his 900th career game and notched an assist on Colton’s goal.
ON THE MOVE
Elvis Merzlikins returned from sickness to be the Blue Jackets’ backup netminder, with goalie Jet Greaves returned to Cleveland of the AHL. Forward Kent Johnson was recalled and skated on the third line. … The Lightning recalled defenseman Trevor Carrick from AHL Syracuse to fill the void left by the suspension of Ian Cole.
Lightning: At Pittsburgh on Saturday night to finish a season-opening three-game trip.
Blue Jackets: At St. Louis on Saturday night.
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