Barclay Goodrow and Yanni Gourde scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves, to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Monday.
Goodrow, Gourde and Blake Coleman each had an assist to combine for five points.
“They’re like gnats,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I feel like they’re always just buzzing around and as you try and knock them away, they just never leave. And they’re pests. They put work ethic above everything else, they’re selfless players and they don’t have an off switch. And they’re finally being rewarded for their work.”
Tampa Bay holds a 3-1 lead in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series for the seventh time. The Lightning won five of the previous six series in Game 5.
“Every game, it’s been a battle and I don’t expect anything different going forward,” Coleman said. “They’re not going to be a team that lays over for us. So being up 3-1, it’s great, but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t take care of business here. So we’ve got another game coming up here in 36 hours or whatever it is, so we’ve just got to turn our focus to that and I have no doubt that this group will be ready.”
Cam Atkinson scored and Joonas Korpisalo made 20 saves for the Blue Jackets, who face elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 5 in Toronto, the hub city in the East, on Wednesday (Noon ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, SUN, FS-O).
“We can’t get frustrated,” Blue Jackest coach John Tortorella said. “We’re still in a series. We improved in that area, we improved in our forechecking. We just have to get ready for our next game. We need to make a couple more big offensive plays and score some goals. No sense in getting frustrated. We just have to get ready for our next game.”
Columbus had been 3-0 following a loss in the postseason.
“I thought we did some pretty good things,” Atkinson said. “You could see the puck bouncing crazy on a lot of plays. Overall, I thought we played a pretty solid game. We just have to look at the positives, turn the page and know we have in a couple of days a do-or-die game.”
Goodrow scored Tampa Bay’s second-fastest playoff goal from the start of a period 16 seconds into the second when he got to a loose puck and made it 1-0 with a shot off Korpisalo’s blocker and the left post. Adam Hall scored at 13 seconds of the first in a 6-5 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on May 17, 2011.
“I think we know what we need to do,” Gourde said. “We need to chip the puck in and use our best asset, which is the forecheck.”
Gourde made it 2-0 when he deflected Kevin Shattenkirk‘s slap shot for his second goal of the playoffs at 4:09.
Atkinson, who missed the past two games because he was unfit to play, scored his third goal at 5:48 to put Columbus within 2-1.
“The last two games we’ve been up by two and let up a goal in pretty crucial times where they might gain momentum off of something,” Shattenkirk said. “And I think we’ve done a great job of just resetting, you know, realizing that we have that two-goal lead for a reason. And when it goes down to one, we’re still in control. And once we get back to playing our game and making the right plays with the puck, not just flipping pucks out.
“Making possession plays and hemming them in their zone, it’s hard for them to really get any momentum and really give them a chance to come back in the game.”
Korpisalo made five saves during Tampa Bay’s first power play late in the second, including consecutive highlight-reel stops. He stuck out his right leg on Pat Maroon‘s shot at 17:16, then lifted his pad to stop Tyler Johnson‘s rebound attempt.
The Blue Jackets had a goal from Oliver Bjorkstrand waved off and the clock was reset to 1:11 in the first period after Tampa Bay challenged and video review determined Alexandre Texier was offside.
Columbus was called for too many men with 1:07 left in the third.
“When you don’t score for a while things start to get a little frustrating,” Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski said. “But we know we’re capable of it. We just have to play our game and the goals will come.”
NHL.com staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report