Blue Jackets’ Alexander Wennberg scores Goal of the Year candidate

My goodness, Alexander Wennberg, that was quite a goal.

In his team’s mid-afternoon 3-1 playoff victory over the Lightning, the Blue Jackets forward pulled off a move that not only mystified veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk but also froze netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy.

With his team changing lines in the third period, Wennberg skated alone into the Tampa Bay zone down the right side — with three Bolts in the zone, mind you — went between the legs, kicked the puck to his stick and then flipped it over Vasilevskiy.

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“I’ve tried it before,” Wennberg said postgame, adding that he was happy he gave his team a two-goal cushion. “Obviously, it worked out really good this time . . . but it’s not often it works that great and I’m just happy that it did at this point in time.”

“We’ve seen it in practice a lot,” noted teammate Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The goal was Wennberg’s first since he scored in the first game of the qualifying round against the Maple Leafs. The 25-year-old has just 40 career goals, including five in the 2019-20 regular season, but this was definitely one of the prettier ones.

“Obviously it’s a really big goal for us to give us a little bit of room,” coach John Tortorella said. “He’s had an up-and-down few weeks here. He’s beginning to solidify his game. [He] was a very important guy in today’s game, not just the goal, but he was put in a lot of different situations. He was very important.”

With the win Thursday, Columbus evened its Eastern Conference first-round series with Tampa Bay 1-1. Game 3 is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Saturday.

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