(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets take aim at a season-high
fourth straight victory on Monday night as they welcome the Tampa Bay
Lightning to Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets come in having won three straight and seven of their last 10,
putting them four points out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
They continued their current surge with back-to-back wins over Carolina and
Winnipeg this past weekend.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves in a 3-0 win over the Hurricanes on Friday,
then got the night off as Curtis McElhinney supplied 28 stops in a 6-3 road
win over the Jets the following night.
Columbus trailed 1-0 after the first period, but Mark Letestu's short-handed
tally 36 seconds into the second frame sparked a four-goal period for the Blue
Letestu and Boone Jenner both scored twice in the win, while Cam Atkinson and
Nick Foligno also scored.
"The first period wasn't the way we wanted to start, but we responded well.
McElhinney was making good saves. That short-handed goal at the start of the
second period was big," Jenner said.
James Wisniewski and Derek Mackenzie, returning from a three-game suspension,
both tallied two assists for Columbus, which last won four in a row during a
five-game run from April 9-17 of last season.
Bobrovsky is likely to get the start tonight and would face the Lightning for
the second time this season. He stopped all 18 shots he faced in a 1-0 victory
on Dec. 3 in Columbus, but exited with 15:47 left in the game with a groin
injury that sidelined him for 12 straight contests.
Bobrovsky, who has made two starts since his return, is 1-1-0 with a 4.33
goals against average in four career meetings with Tampa Bay, including three
The Blue Jackets snapped a three-game losing streak to the Lightning and have
won three of the last four played in Columbus.
The Lightning enter play two points back of the Boston Bruins for first place
in the Atlantic Division and won for the fourth time in six games on Saturday
with a 6-3 decision over the hosting Philadelphia Flyers.
In his fourth straight start in place of the injured Ben Bishop (sprained
right wrist), Anders Lindback came up with 35 saves.
"He was arguably one of the best players tonight. If you want to win hockey
games in this league you've gotta have solid goaltending. Consistent
goaltending is what you need," said Lightning head coach John Cooper. "Today,
it went his way, and I think we talked about it this morning -- you work hard
enough eventually things are gonna turn around and go your way."
Ryan Malone scored twice, while Martin St. Louis netted his 20th goal of the
campaign, the 10th time in his career he has reached that mark in a season.
Teddy Purcell, Alex Killorn and Valtteri Filppula each had a goal and an
assist, while Matt Carle finished a plus-6 and notched an assist for a sixth
Tampa Bay did lose defenseman Victor Hedman (upper body) and Sami Salo (lower
body) due to injury. Their status for this game is unknown.
It is also unknown if Bishop is ready to return to action or if Lindback will
face the Blue Jackets for the first time in his career tonight.
The Sports Network