Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning edges Blue Jackets

TAMPA — Lightning coach Jon Cooper began his postgame meeting with reporters with this:

"Okay, zero questions about injuries. Let's go from there."

But injuries were a major story in Friday night's 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets in the regular-season home finale at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Bigger than a three-goal second period, Eric Brewer's two goals and the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Bigger than rookie Kristers Gudlevskis, who made 36 saves in his NHL debut, becoming, it is believed, the first goalie to play in the ECHL, AHL, Olympics and NHL in the same season.

"It is unreal," Cooper said and then joked, "Yeah, like, postgame speech, I gave (it) in the trainers' room."

Star defenseman Victor Hedman was lost six minutes into the first period with a lower-body injury. Rookie star Ondrej Palat, who scored his 23rd goal, left the game in the first minute of the third after a huge, clean, hit from Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson.

That was after the Lightning started the game without goals leader Valtteri Filppula (lower body) and Teddy Purcell (flu).

All will be re-evaluated today.

"The list goes on, but we're finding ways," captain Steven Stamkos said. "Guys stepped up. It's the sign of a good team."

A team that tied a franchise record with its 25th home victory (25-10-6) and can still secure home ice in its first-round playoff series with the Canadiens.

With 99 points, Tampa Bay (45-27-9) is second in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of Montreal. Both teams have one game remaining. The Canadiens have the tiebreaker (total regulation and overtime wins), so the Lightning must finish ahead on points.

Tampa Bay, outshot 38-22, can thank Gudlevskis, 21, called up from AHL Syracuse this week after No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop was injured.

"I thought he looked very good, very square in net," said Brewer, whose two goals gave him four on the season and three, including two winners, in his past two games. "Probably a few more shots than we would have liked to give up, but he was very solid."

"My biggest dream come true," said Gudlevskis, who made worldwide headlines at the February Olympics with his 55-save masterpiece for Latvia in a 2-1 loss to Canada in the quarterfinals. "I'm going to wake up soon."

Gudlevskis wasn't the only rookie to contribute. Center Cedric Paquette, called up Friday from Syracuse, had an assist, was plus-1 and won nine of 14 faceoffs.

That kind of experience, Cooper said, is how a team prepares to deal with injuries: "You bring guys up and throw them into games. Now they've been under the bright lights."

And contributed to a win, to boot.

Lightning 0 3 0 3
Blue Jackets 0 1 1 2
Lightning 0 3 0 3
Blue Jackets 0 1 1 2

FirstNone. PenaltiesCarle, TB (high-sticking), 12:05.

Second1, Tampa Bay, Palat 23 (Killorn), 3:55 (pp). 2, Columbus, Jenner 16 (J.Johnson, Johansen), 13:46 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Brewer 3 (Paquette), 14:54. 4, Tampa Bay, Brewer 4 (Kostka, Panik), 18:06. PenaltiesJ.Johnson, Clm (elbowing), :27; Dubinsky, Clm (slashing), 2:37; Jenner, Clm (holding), 4:42; Panik, TB (hooking), 12:52.

Third5, Columbus, Savard 5 (Jenner, Comeau), 16:37. PenaltiesTropp, Clm (roughing), 2:51; Panik, TB, served by Kucherov, double minor (roughing), 2:51. Shots on GoalColumbus 14-13-11—38. Tampa Bay 8-11-3—22. Power-play opportunitiesColumbus 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 1 of 3. GoaliesColumbus, McElhinney 10-11-1 (22 shots-19 saves). Tampa Bay, Gudlevskis 1-0-0 (38-36). A18,686 (19,204).

Lightning edges Blue Jackets 04/11/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 11, 2014 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrespectful fans

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  2. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived

    Bucs

    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  3. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  4. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)