Bolts stop skidding with comeback victory

by Gary Shelton on April 23, 2021

in general

Palat scored the game-winner./TIM WIRT

Friday, 3 a.m.

No one should consider them as cured. Not yet, at least.

But, for a night at least, the pain stopped and the slide ended for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The defending champion Bolts have had a hard time -- especially scoring goals -- as of late. Against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the last-place team in the NHL Central, the Bolts rallied for a 3-1 victory.

For Tampa Bay, it stopped several skids.

-- Ondrej Palat scored the winning goal, his first goal in 14 games to tie the game Thursday night.

-- Blake Coleman scored two goals, one an empty-netter. Coleman had gone six games without a goal.

-- Goaltender Curtis McElhinney was solid in goal. He had lost four of his previous five, and had given up seven goals in his previous game.

-- As a team, the Bolts had gone 6-8 in their previous 14 games.

It still left the Bolts in third place in the Central Division.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper was pleased with McElhinney's play in goal.

“He played well," Cooper said. "He hasn’t got a lot of time. He missed one of his starts recently because he had some spasms or something like that. He was in control of that game. We were down 1-0 and gave up that breakaway, and it was a huge save for us to keep it a one-goal game."

Then there was Palat, who took a nice feed from Alex Killorn for the Bolts' go-ahead goal with 11:46 to play.

"He expects a lot from himself," Cooper said. "He’s such a warrior for us. He has been for almost a decade now. When you play the right way, you get rewarded. Pally is a workhorse."

The Bolts conclude their season-long, six game homestand by playing the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday at Amalie Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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