Trending in different directions in the Eastern Conference standings, the Columbus Blue Jackets and host Tampa Bay Lightning will face off Thursday for the second time this season.

The Blue Jackets have owned losing streaks of at least three games on four separate occasions. Their longest was a five-game skid from Oct. 25-Nov. 5.

Columbus failed to penetrate the net guarded by former Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in a 4-0 setback to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

The visitors put up just 22 shots against the two-time Vezina Trophy recipient.

“It’s tough to come out of those two periods down 3-0, let’s put it that way,” said Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen, who arrived in Florida a few hours before puck drop due to a non-COVID illness.

“To come out after those two periods and be down 3-0, it didn’t feel like a 3-0 game. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Added forward Sean Kuraly: “They finished their chances and there’s some we would have liked to have tonight.”

The second stop on Columbus’ three-game trip will be a sizeable chore against the Lightning, who have won 11 of 14 games and are 11-4-1 on home ice.

Set to close out a season-long six-game homestand, Tampa Bay posted a 6-2 win over the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday night. The game became lopsided as the Lightning roared away from the Western Conference club with a three-goal second period.

It marked the third straight game coach Jon Cooper’s group netted goals in bunches. The Lightning produced three-goal third periods against Florida and the Nashville Predators last week.

Tuesday’s victory featured a pair of dynamite goals by Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point and captain Steven Stamkos.

Point moved his goal streak to four games at 12:13 of the second period by taking a pass in the neutral zone from Nikita Kucherov and then slicing his way through the Kraken defense for his 15th goal.

In the third period, Stamkos danced his way through the Seattle crease, waited out Martin Jones and scored his team-leading 16th goal. That extended Stamkos’ point streak to a club-best 14 games (nine goals, 12 assists).

Following his team’s eighth win in the past 10 home games, Cooper mentioned his star players in the same breath as the NHL’s most spectacular player.

“Honestly, the (Connor) McDavids, the Points, the (Kucherovs), these guys can play at a high rate of speed, but they can do it with the puck,” Cooper said. “Everybody can skate up and back and stop and start all day.

“You do it with the puck, you do it with pucks in the air, timing, it’s so hard to do, and you’re watching the best players in the world do it.”

Kucherov’s three assists on Tuesday moved him past 400 for his career and gave him 12 multi-point games this season.

Stamkos, who tallied twice in Tampa Bay’s 5-2 win over Columbus on Oct. 14, is just three goals from joining elite company as the 47th NHL player to record 500 goals.

–Field Level Media