COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Tampa Bay scored three times in the first six minutes of the game, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves and the Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-4 on Thursday night.
Blake Coleman roofed a shot 58 seconds in, and then Steven Stamkos and Barclay Goodrow scored a minute apart to put the Blue Jackets in an early hole.
Ryan McDonagh scored twice, and Ross Colton also had a goal as the Lightning stopped a three-game skid and earned a split of the two-game series with Columbus as they duel the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes for supremacy in the Central Division. Yanni Gourde had four assists, and Goodrow added two assists.
Jack Roslovic had a goal and an assist, and Michael Del Zotto, Zach Werenski and Max Domi also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped eight of the last 10 games. Joonas Korpisalo stopped three of the Lightning’s first six shots before being benched for Elvis Merzlikins, who made 21 saves the rest of the way..
Goodrow’s goal, which went in off the skate of Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine, chased Korpisalo just 5:41 into the game.
Del Zotto cut to the lead to two goals when he snapped in a shot from the slot late in the first, but the Lightning extended it again when a puck off the stick of McDonagh trickled under Merzlikins and across the line.
Colton kept up the pressure for the Lightning on a rush early in the second period. A charging Roslovic scored for the Blue Jackets late in the second, but McDonagh answered 1:48 later with his second goal.
Werenski and Domi got third-period goals but the Blue Jackets ran out of time.
Lightning: Start a two-game series with Nashville on Saturday before heading home for a six-game stand.
Blue Jackets: Open a two-game series with Chicago on Saturday before embarking on a six-game road trip
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