Bolts offense surges in win over Jackets

by Gary Shelton on April 9, 2021

in general

Gourde had four assists for Bolts./CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 4 a.m.

For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was a nice night. But does it mean the Bolts are back?

Well, partially.

The Bolts stopped their slump Thursday night, and stopped their offensive funk along with it, in a 6-4 road victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Bolts jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first six minutes of the first period.

On the other hand, they gave up four goals, which kind of dampened the glee a bit.

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"The six goals feels good, but if we look at the whole  picture, we’re not happy with the four goals against," said defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who scored twice. "We left Vasi (goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy) back there to make a lot of saves  and some big saves. Collectively as a group, we know it’s not the defensive game we need to play as we go forward."

The Bolts, who had scored three goals or fewer in eight straight games, matched that quickly. They scored four in the first period, but Columbus wouldn't go away.

“I think the majority (of the problem) has to be the puck management," McDonagh said. "That’s something we can control. We talked about being a harder team to play against. It’s something we strive to work on. We've got to get back to being committed and disciplined."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper seemed relieved to see his team finally walk away with two points.

"We’ve been a pretty decent defensive team for most of the year," Cooper said . "In the end, to come out to a 3-0 lead and still five up four, we’ve got better in us than that."

Aside from McDonagh's goals, the Bolts got goals from Blake Coleman, Steven Stamkos, Barley Goodrow and Ross Colton. Yanni Gourde had four assists for the Bolts.

Goaltender Vasilevskiy picked up his 24th win of the year, which ties him for the most in the NHL.

The Bolts play again in Nashville on Saturday night at the Bridgestone Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8 p.m.

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