Joe Smith’s takeaways from Sunday’s Lightning-Blue Jackets game


Tyler Johnson is resembling his 2014-15 All-Star form. Johnson had the best month of his career in December, his two goals Sunday giving him eight in the month (18 points), topping his previous best of 17 in December 2014. He has followed a 15-game goal drought with a 12-game point streak. You can sense his confidence soaring.

Ryan Callahan could be back earlier than we thought. That he was cleared for contact Sunday was an encouraging sign, and coach Jon Cooper said the wing could play on this five-game trip. Thursday marks three weeks since Callahan suffered his upper-body injury. Maybe he will be back then.

This was a good bounce-back game for the penalty kill. The Lightning entered having allowed 11 power-play goals in its previous seven games, but it killed off the first four Blue Jackets power plays. The Lightning was aggressive but still structured. It did a better job of getting in shooting lanes. At 24th in the league entering the game, the penalty kill is one area Tampa Bay has to improve.