TAMPA, Fla. — Seth Jones scored the go-ahead goal on the power play to cap Columbus’ three-goal third period, and the Blue Jackets rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in Game 1 of the teams’ first-round Eastern Conference playoff series Wednesday night.
Jones made it 4-3 from the slot with 5:55 to play as the Blues Jackets erased a 3-0 deficit after the Lightning scored three times in the opening period.
With Columbus trailing 3-1 in the third, David Savard deked around Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman and scored 7:56 into the period to make it a one-goal game. Josh Anderson picked up a short-handed goal that tied it at 3 at 11:54.
Nick Foligno had the other goal for Columbus, and Sergei Bobrovsky ended up with 26 saves after struggling in the first period.
The Lightning, who matched the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins in a regular season with 62, got first-period goals from Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli and Yanni Gourde. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots.
Hedman returned after missing the final four regular-season game with an upper-body injury. The Norris Trophy winner took a helmet to the face during a collision with Washington’s Carl Hagelin on March 30.
Killorn stole the puck from Jones at the blue line during a power play for Columbus and put a backhander past Bobrovsky to open the scoring 4:12 into the game. Tampa Bay was tied for third in short-handed goals during the regular season with 12.
After Cirelli had a rebound goal at 11:01, Gourde’s waist-high deflection of Mikhail Sergachev’s shot made it 3-0 with 2:10 left in the first.
Foligno cut the deficit to 3-1 at 9:15 of the second on a breakaway goal after Tampa Bay’s Ryan McDonagh made an errant pass in the offensive zone.
Vasilevskiy made a strong save on Matt Duchene during a 2-on-1 two minutes after Foligno’s goal.
Alexandre Texier, Columbus’ 19-year-old rookie who played in the Blue Jackets’ final two regular-season games, skated in alone on Vasilevskiy but missed the net on a shot with 4 minutes to go in the first.
Bobrovsky stopped four shots over the final 40 seconds of the second, including a nifty glove save on Steven Stamkos.
Nikita Kucherov, who had an NHL-best 128 points in the regular season, was held without a point but had an in-close chance turned aside by Bobrovsky and hit the crossbar during the opening minute of the second during a power play.
NOTES: Tampa Bay outscored Columbus 17-3 in sweeping all three games between the teams in the regular season. … Lightning D Anton Stralman sat out with a lower-body injury, but might return during the series. … RW Ryan Callahan and D Braydon Coburn were among Tampa Bay’s healthy scratches. … Columbus D Adam McQuaid (upper-body injury) didn’t play.
The Lightning will host Game 2 on Friday night.
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Mark Didtler, The Associated Press