Steven Stamkos scored the eventual game-winner, as the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 on Saturday night.
Nicholas Paul had a goal and an assist, and Brandon Hagel had a goal and two helpers for Tampa Bay, which avoided a third straight loss. Anthony Cirelli had the other goal, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves as the Lightning improved to 9-3-0 over their last 12 games.
Boone Jenner scored twice for Columbus, and netminder Elvis Merzlikins stopped 33 shots in the loss.
Jenner scored twice in a 3:38 span in the third period to pull Columbus to within one. However, Hagel scored into an empty net with 48 seconds remaining, securing the victory for Tampa Bay.
Jenner got Columbus on the board, redirecting a Johnny Gaudreau pass past Vasilevskiy for his 14th of the season at 12:22 of the third period.
Then, on a power play with 4:10 remaining in the third, Jenner trimmed Columbus’ deficit to one, tipping a Gaudreau pass past Vasilevskiy for his 15th.
Tampa Bay outshot Columbus 13-9 and led 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Paul opened the scoring, putting home the rebound off Hagel’s shot for his 14th of the season at 15:40 of the opening frame. With the assist, Hagel extended his point streak to six games (six goals, four assists).
Cirelli doubled Tampa Bay’s lead 49 seconds into the second period, beating Merzlikins on a breakaway for his 11th of the season.
Stamkos made it 3-0, one-timing a Victor Hedman feed past Merzlikins on a power play 23 seconds into the third for his 22nd goal of the season. With the secondary assist on the goal, Nikita Kucherov extended his point streak to seven games (five goals, seven assists).
Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
Columbus beat Tampa Bay 4-2 on Nov. 2 in the only other meeting between the two clubs this season. The Blue Jackets and Lightning wrap up the season series on April 9 at Tampa Bay.
–Field Level Media
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