Tampa Bay at Columbus

Chimera helps Jackets stop Lightning, snap home streak

CBSSports.com wire reports

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock summed up the feelings of his team precisely in one word: relieved.

Jason Chimera scored a power-play goal with 3:44 remaining, and the Blue Jackets ended a seven-game home winless skid with a 5-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

"To come back and win in the third period is the best feeling for us right now," Hitchcock said of his club, which is five points out of the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. "You start to have doubt in your game ... but winning like tonight can relieve some of those problems."

David Vyborny, Derek MacKenzie, Michael Peca and Jiri Novotny also scored for Columbus, whose home skid was one shy of the franchise record. The Blue Jackets ended a three-game overall slide and the league's worst offense produced its highest goal total at home since Jan. 11.

Jeff Halpern had a goal and assist for Tampa Bay, losers of five in a row and 10 of 11. Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, who ended a 12-game goal drought, scored for Tampa Bay, last place in the Eastern Conference.

"I thought our team played hard, defended well, didn't give up many opportunities at all," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "We scored a couple goals and played good enough to lose."

The Lightning pulled even at 3 late in the second period with goals 1:02 apart. St. Louis beat goalie Pascal Leclaire, who had 24 stops, with a slap shot from the left dot and Lecavalier converted a penalty shot, but Chimera deflected a slap shot by Nikolai Zherdev that trickled across the goal line for his 14th and ending the Blue Jackets' 0-for-34 slump with the man advantage.

At the midway mark of the first period, Columbus worked the puck down low on the power play and Vyborny beat Mike Smith, who finished with 20 saves, near-side with a soft shot from the right side of the goal line, one second after the power play expired.

"We're counting that as a power play goal," Hitchcock said with a smile.

Halpern, alone in front, tied it three minutes later, putting a close-range shot over Leclaire after being set up by Mathieu Darche's centering pass from behind the net.

The goal was Halpern's 13th of the season and third in seven games since being acquired from Dallas in a package-deal, which included Smith, for Brad Richards at the trade deadline two weeks ago.

MacKenzie made it 2-1 at 19:18 for his first career goal, pounding home a loose puck in the crease after Smith turned the puck over behind his goal and two Columbus players fanned on open chances.

"It was nice to finally get one, especially when we're hunting for a playoff spot," MacKenzie said.

Zherdev helped give Columbus a two-goal lead midway through the second period. He took the puck down the right wing and threaded a pass to Peca, who beat Smith from the slot for his fifth of the season.

"We've been disappointed with the way we've played at home since the All-Star break," Peca said. "It's good to see us be a little more resilient tonight."

After Leclaire looked in control with a spectacular kick save on Michel Ouellet's slap shot, St. Louis tallied his 22nd at 16:35 and Lecavalier, who entered with the fourth most points in the league, scored his 33rd after being hooked down by Jan Hejda.


  • Tampa Bay finished 0-for-7 on the power play.
  • The Blue Jackets need one point to tie the franchise record of 74 points in a season, set in 2005-06.
  • It was the first game between the teams in Columbus since 2003.
  • Rick Nash, the first selection in the 2002 entry draft, had two assists and now has 58 points, a new career high.
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Jason Chimera's 14th goal of the season ensures the Jackets snap their three-game slide.  (Getty Images)
Jason Chimera's 14th goal of the season ensures the Jackets snap their three-game slide. (Getty Images)
Tampa Bay (26-35-8)1203
Columbus  (31-28-11) «2125
Three Stars
N. Zherdev

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
R. Klesla

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
D. MacKenzie

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

Scoring Summary
11:29David Vyborny (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Rick Nash, Kris Russell
14:14Jeff Halpern (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mathieu Darche, Michel Ouellet
19:18Derek MacKenzie (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Gilbert Brule, Dan Fritsche
11:29Michael Peca (5), Snap Shot. Assist: Nikolai Zherdev
16:35Martin St. Louis (22), Slap Shot. Assist: Jeff Halpern
17:37Vincent Lecavalier (34), Penalty Shot, Unassisted.
16:16Power Play - Jason Chimera (14), Slap Shot. Assist: Nikolai Zherdev, Dick Tarnstrom
19:00Jiri Novotny (8), Empty Net. Assist: Manny Malhotra, Rick Nash
Penalty Summary
01:09Lessard, 2 min, High-Sticking
02:49Novotny, 2 min, Tripping
05:30MacKenzie, 4 min, High-Sticking
09:29Chimera, 10 min, Misconduct
09:29O'Brien, 2 min, Roughing
09:29O'Brien, 10 min, Misconduct
01:09Boll, 2 min, Interference
11:50Hainsey, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
16.0Smith, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
01:40Nash, 2 min, High-Sticking
11:31Tarnstrom, 2 min, Interference
15:15Halpern, 2 min, Holding
Shots On Goal
Tampa Bay1111527
Mike Smith59:30204
Pascal Leclaire59:57243
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Tampa Bay0-for-0
Game Information
Attendance - 14796
Referees - Greg Kimmerly, Francois St-Laurent
Linesmen - Scott Driscoll, Derek Amell
Other Games
Pitt 4 Final
Wash 2
Colo 0 Final
Dal 3
Nash 3 Final
Det 4
Edm 6 Final
Chi 5
SJ 3 Final
Min 2
Mon 1 Final
Ana 3
Bos 0 Final