Foligno scores winner for Jackets; Bobrovsky suffers injury

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Most nights, the talk of the Columbus dressing room would be left winger Nick Foligno's highlight-reel, second-period goal -- the only goal in a 1-0 Blue Jackets win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at the Nationwide Arena.
But, with a held breath, the Blue Jackets were more focused on an injury suffered by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Bobrovsky, who won the Vezina Trophy last season as the NHL's top goaltender, left the ice with the help of teammates at 4:17 of the third period after stopping Tampa Bay right winger J.T. Brown on a breakaway.
Replays showed there was no contact between Brown and Bobrovsky, but Bobrovsky's left skate appeared to catch on the goalpost as his weight carried him backward. He put no weight on his left skate as he headed to the dressing room.
"(On Monday) he's going to have an MRI and we'll get more information," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "Obviously it was a leg injury, and when he comes out like that you're a bit unsure.
"I don't know if we'll have an answer on Monday, but within the next few days we'll have a better idea (of the severity)."
Bobrovsky stopped all 18 shots he faced. He was replaced by backup goalie Curtis McElhinney, who stopped all six shots he faced, including a glove save off to deny Tampa Bay right winger Martin St. Louis with 1:23 remaining.
"It's a tough situation to come into," McElhinney said. "And it comes with a lot of responsibility. First and foremost, you want the win. But, no a personal level, you also want to finish what the other guy started. I wanted to pick Bob up right there."
Tampa Bay was shut out for the second straight game and the fifth time in 27 games this season.
"Our commitment to go to those areas you need to score? It's just not there," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "We have a bunch of players who have played in this league a long time. They have to take us there.
"It's unfortunate. It's a two-game stretch here in an 82-game season, and it's going to happen. But it's happening too often. It's happening in real time, and we're learning by watching people pass us in the standings."
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 20 of 21 shots. The one he didn't stop -- Foligno's goal early in the second -- will be shown in rinks for many years to come.
After a dozy first period in which they generated only four shots on goal, the Blue Jackets stepped up the pressure on their forecheck in the second period. It paid immediate dividends.
At 4:30 of the period, after the Lightning had been hemmed in their zone for a long stretch, Foligno was left all alone in the slot. From a crowd of defenders along the wall, Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen fed him the puck off his backhand.
With time and space, Foligno closed in on Bishop, dragged the puck between his legs, and lifted it off his forehand, scoring over Bishop's extended right pad.
"I really didn't have time to think about it, or plan it," Foligno said. "I was going from left to right, and usually when you do that you're trying to go wide of the goalie's pad on the far side.
"I had the time and space with the puck, so I was able to pull up and get him moving. That's what made it happen."
It was Foligno's seventh goal of the season. It was all the Blue Jackets would need thanks to Bobrovsky and McElhinney.
The Lightning had a last-gasp power play with 4:46 remaining, but generated only one shot.
"It's embarrassing," St. Louis said of the power play.
NOTES: Before Tuesday's game, the Lightning announced that D Eric Brewer was day-to-day with a lower-body injury after a "tweak" during the morning skate. ... Blue Jackets C Brandon Dubinsky returned to the lineup after missing six games with a bone bruise in his left ankle. ... Blue Jackets C Derek MacKenzie, who has missed the last four games with back spasms, is targeting a return Friday vs. Minnesota. ... The announced crowd of 10,223 was the smallest at Nationwide Arena so far this season. ... Blue Jackets C Mark Letestu, who led the club with 13 goals last season, was demoted to the fourth line Tuesday. He has just one goal in 27 games.

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