Seth Jones’ power-play goal late in the third period capped a thrilling rally, as the Columbus Blue Jackets erased a three-goal deficit and stunned the host Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Wednesday in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Jones scored his second career playoff goal when he rang a shot off the crossbar with 5:55 to play. He took a slick pass from Artemi Panarin and roofed the power-play goal to complete a spree of four unanswered goals, three of which came in the third period.
Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist, and Nick Foligno and David Savard also tallied for the Blue Jackets, who lost all three regular-season meetings with the Lightning by a combined score of 17-3.
In matchup of the two top goaltenders in games won this season, Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay, who won the Presidents’ Trophy and tied an NHL single-season record with 62 wins, led 3-0 after one period on goals by Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli and Yanni Gourde.
The Lightning blitzed the Metropolitan Division club in the opening 20 minutes.
Tempers flared early when Tampa Bay’s Dan Girardi blindsided Brandon Dubinsky at 2:55 of the first period. The two fought in the neutral zone, and Columbus’ Scott Harrington grappled with Cedric Paquette, who ended up pinned to the ice by Harrington.
However, Tampa Bay struck first when Jones bobbled the puck at the blue line on the power play, and Killorn stole it, raced in on a breakaway and beat Bobrovsky for a short-handed goal at 4:12.
Bobrovsky’s weak pass around the boards from behind his goal allowed Erik Cernak to get off a long blast, and Cirelli, who scored 19 goals in his rookie season, flipped in the rebound at 11:01.
Gourde tipped in a shot from the slot by Mikhail Sergachev at 17:50 for the three-goal advantage.
Foligno started the rally, beating Vasilevskiy on the blocker side off a breakaway for his seventh playoff marker at 9:15 of the second period to trim the deficit to 3-1.
Savard’s wrister on a quick rush at 7:56 of the third period cut it to 3-2.
Dubinsky’s double-minor for high-sticking Paquette at 9:23 had the Blue Jackets playing defensively on the penalty kill, but Anderson tied it with a short-handed goal at 11:54, setting the stage for Jones’ winner.
—Field Level Media