Elvis Merzlikins stopped 37 shots and helped the Blue Jackets achieve a four-game winning streak.
“We were better,” said Columbus head coach John Tortorella. “We’re working on a way of playing that brings us to a kind of identity. I think we have taken a step in the right direction. We struggled up to some sales at times and allowed them to go into the attack. Elvis made some big parades for us. I think we did a pretty good job after the shots on the net. We found a way to win a hockey game. ”
Mathieu Joseph scored for Tampa Bay, which fell to 13-3 on home ice.
Curtis McElhinney finished with 18 saves for Blitz, who lost three games in a row for the first time this season.
“It could probably have gone our way tonight, your goalkeeper played well,” said Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos said. “I thought he saw most of the shots and stopped them when he had to, but certainly better than the last couple of games, that’s the way it is now.”
The teams will play again in the second of two games on Thursday.
Savard’s goal came during a late penalty in Tampa Bay. After Alex Texier had pushed through a check from Andreas Borgaman, he found Savard in the slot for a quick one-timer past McElhinney, with 32 seconds remaining in the second period.
Savard last scored a goal of the season against the Nashville Predators on March 30, 2019, a span of 108 games. Savard’s last goal was against Blitz in Game 1 of the 2019 Playoff Opening Round on April 10, 2019.
“The boys wanted me to have one soon. It was a good feeling and a big goal to move up 2-0, ”said Savard.
The Blitz received a scare in the second period, as a Norris Trophy candidate Victor Hedman was tripped by Mikko Lehtonen and fell awkwardly into the boards, needing help getting off the ice and down the tunnel at 5:57 of the second period.
But Hedman returned during a media hiatus and was back on the ice at 10:22 am, on time for the icing on the cake that led to it Jack Roslovic to win a faceoff Zach Werenski, who sent a shot into the net that deflected off Bjorkstrand and put Columbus in front at 10:49.
“It’s just one of those things that you go through as a player,” said Hedman. “I was fortunate enough to come back and felt okay to make it through the rest of the game.
Tampa Bay lost the defender Jan Rutta to a lower body injury in the second period.
Joseph cut into the deficit as Luke SchennThe shot from the right came from Joseph’s skate and then from the back of Columbus’ defender Vladislav Gavripov at 4:12 a.m. of the third period for his 10th of the season.
Atkinson scored an empty net goal 1:31 to end the scoring.
Tampa Bay played without a second defensive partner Ryan McDonagh and Erik Cernak for the third time in a row. Missing his fourth straight game with a lower body, McDonagh took part in the team’s morning skate, the first time on the ice since he was eliminated from the game against Florida on March 21. Cernak has not played since taking a puck from the inside of his knee on March 23rd in Dallas.
Head coach Jon Cooper said McDonagh is at least a more game or two away from returning while Cernak could potentially be a little longer.
BLUE (JACKET) DEBUT
Columbus D Mikko Lehtonen made his debut for the Blue Jackets on Tuesday Dean Kukan |who appeared in his 100th career game. Lehtonen was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 10th in exchange for G Veini Vehvilainen. Lehtonen played nine games for Toronto earlier this season and registered three assists.