Lightning holds fiercely to lead to go up 3-1

by Gary Shelton on August 18, 2020

in general

Gourde scored on a deflection./CHUCK MULLER

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

What's as good as a comeback win?

How about a close-out?

For the second straight game, players of the Tampa Bay Lightning turned into guard dogs once they had a lead, holding onto a 2-1 lead that put the team up 3-1 in the team's best of seven playoff series.

Just as in the Game Three victory, the Lightning snuffed the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period of Sunday's game. Wednesday, they held

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Columbus to eight third-period shots and kept them scoreless for the final 25:38 of play. In the game beforehand, the Bolts held Columbus to three shots in the third period and without a goal for the final 18:23.

“I think the real key is that in both games we've been up by two and let up a goal in a pretty crucial time where they might gain momentum off of something," said defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. "We’ve done a great job of just resetting, realizing  we have that two-goal lead for a reason and when it goes down to one, we’re still in control. Once we get back to playing our game and making the right plays with the puck — not just flipping the puck out — making possession plays and hemming them in their zone ... it’s hard for them to really get any momentum and give them a chance to come back in the game."

The Blue Jackets came out hard, scoring in the first 1:52. That goal was disallowed, however, as the Jackets were offside.

The Bolts scored quickly in the second period, getting a goal in 16 seconds off of Barclay Goodrow. Less than four minutes later, Yanni Gourde deflected in a shot by Shattenkirk for a 2-0 lead.

Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus with 5:38 to play, but that was all his team could muster. For the Bolts, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 29 shots.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper was effusive in his praise of the Gourde-Goodrow-Blake Coleman line.

"They’re like gnats," Cooper said. "They’re always buzzing around. If you try to knock them away, they never leave. They’re pests. They put work ethic ahead of everyone else. They don’t have an off-switch.’’

The teams will play again on Wednesday at noon.

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