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Blue Jackets surprise top seed Lightning in first game of NHL playoffs

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 Blue Jackets erased a 3-0 deficit after the Lightning scored three times in the opening period.

Tampa Bay’s Dan Girardi defends against Boone Jenner of Columbus in the second period of their playoff opener Wednesday night. The Blue Jackets surprised the Lightning, the regular-season champions, with a 4-3 win in Tampa, Fla.
Tampa Bay’s Dan Girardi defends against Boone Jenner of Columbus in the second period of their playoff opener Wednesday night. The Blue Jackets surprised the Lightning, the regular-season champions, with a 4-3 win in Tampa, Fla.  (Mike Carlson / GETTY IMAGES)

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.

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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’s 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 four 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.

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