If the Lightning plan to win game one, they’ll need to flex their offensive muscle. If there is anything they can take away from the Toronto series, it’s that they’ll have to consistently force their way past Columbus’ defence group and score greasy goals. Also, put tons of pressure on Joonas Korpisalo and hopefully break through.
In order for Columbus to win, they need to do what they did in the Toronto series. Use their limited offensive power to score and on the defensive side, force Tampa Bay to the outside. Don’t let them get quality scoring chances because they will find a way to score.
Luckily for the Lightning, Victor Hedman is cleared before the game. This is a huge piece (pun intended) for their team. He’s their top defenceman and was someone I listed as an X-Factor in my series preview for the Lightning.
Similar to Toronto, Tampa Bay was coming out and dominating. They were successfully creating quality chances and in large quantities. Shortly into the opening frame, Alex Killorn got called for tripping and was sent away for two minutes. On the power-play, Alexandre Texier takes a shot from the half-wall. It gets deflected by the stick of Eric Cernak and bounces off of Pierre-Luc Dubois and past Andrei Vasilevskiy, 1-0 Columbus. You may be inclined to say “Vasilevskiy should’ve had that one”. I’d disagree, there were two pretty drastic deflections that Vasilevskiy couldn’t have accounted for in real-time.
If the goal Vasilevskiy allowed had Lightning fans feeling down, they shouldn’t feel too bad. Less than four minutes after the Dubois goal, Nikita Kucherov fires a shot off of Brayden Point’s leg. It deflects right through Joonas Korpisalo’s five-hole and the Lightning even up the score, 1-1.
After the first, the Lightning are obliterating Columbus in shots 14-6.
The second period is a little more even than the first. Columbus and Tampa traded chances back-and-forth and no one took a clear lead. Unlike in the first, the aggressive forecheck that the Blue Jackets are known for was starting to wear down the Lightning.
They took two penalties in this game, a Yanni Gourde slashing call and too many men on the ice call. This definitely helped shift the momentum in Columbus’ favor a bit but Tampa also got a power-play sandwiched in between those calls.
Looking back, it’s surprising that Columbus didn’t take a bigger lead considering how much they evened out the period and having two power plays. In the final minute of the frame, Oliver Bjorkstrand fires a puck from the right-wing up and over the shoulder of Vasilevskiy. This gives Columbus a one goal leading heading into the third.
As I said, this period was very even and the difference in shots was only 3. However, Tampa still leads in that category 13-10 on the period and 27-16 on the game.
And just like that Tampa scores, tie game 2-2. Only 23 seconds in Yanni Gourde digs at the puck and Korpisalo scores on himself. It’s a flukey goal but a much needed on for the Lightning. It might not be a goal that shows off their offensive prowess but you will need to score some garbage goals if you want to beat Columbus (check the first paragraph).
I’m sure Korpisalo would love that back and in all honesty, he did much more. Tampa kept pushing and made it difficult but he was steady. Not only did they make it difficult on Korpisalo, but the Lightning also made it difficult for themselves. In this period they took two more penalties: A holding by Kevin Shattenkirk and another too many men call.
If the Lightning wants to win the series, they’ll have to be more disciplined. It’s frankly unacceptable that they took this many bench minors. Alas, they still lead in shots, in this period they lead 14-10 putting them at 41-26 on the game.
The first overtime period looked a little bit more like the first period. Columbus came out firing on all cylinders and putting a lot of pressure on Andrei Vasilevskiy in the first half. Then, in the second half, the ice tilted a bit and Tampa was peppering Korpisalo who was able to withstand the pressure and shut the door.
After this period, Tampa lead in shots 12-8, making it 53-34 on the game as a whole.
This period was much more balanced than the last. Columbus controlled the majority of the play but they weren’t able to hold back Tampa Bay completely. As Kucherov comes down the right-wing, he is left wide open to fire a one-timer that… Misses the net. Almost sealed the deal right there.
To say Joonas Korpisalo had a good game is an understatement. Korpisalo literally made history, he set the Blue Jackets franchise record for most saves in a game at 55. He was unbelievable in this game and has been all playoffs. It can’t be expressed enough how vital he is for their team, in this game especially.
After double overtime, Columbus lead in shots 10-6 on the period. On the game as a whole, they still trailed Tampa Bay 59-44.
You might be asking yourself, how is this game still going on? Honestly, you’re asking the same question everyone else has. Once again though, Tampa is trying to end this game and as per usual, they get denied by Korpisalo.
Columbus Blue Jackets Captain Nick Foligno took a high-sticking penalty early on and Tampa was unable to capitalize. There were some good chances but luckily for Columbus, Korpisalo denied every chance the Lightning had.
I forgot to mention earlier but this game started at 3PM EST, it was supposed to be done by about 5:30-6:00 PM and the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes game was supposed to start at 8:00PM. This way, everyone would have 2 hours between games to clean the ice, sanitize and get everything prepared for the next game. This GIF was posted at 7:47PM.
At the end of the third overtime period, Lighting lead 14-8 in shots. This adds up to a total of 73-52 on the game.
This was a very long game, as you can see by John Tortorella’s expression at having to go into a fourth overtime.
Much like the last period, the Lightning was dominating offensive play. They just couldn’t seem to solve the puzzle that is Joonas Korpisalo. If you want an indication for how important he was to his team, look at this tweet below.
The Blue Jackets probably weren’t feeling so great about their chances but at least they made history and have a history-making net minder. In this period Joonas Korpisalo set the new NHL playoff record for most saves by a goalie in a single game, at 75.
At the end of the fourth overtime period, the shots were the exact same as last (14-8 for Tampa Bay) putting the game totals at 87-60 in favour of Tampa.
The Boston Bruins versus Carolina Hurricanes game was officially postponed to 11:00AM the next day as they would have had to start after 11:00PM that night had they not.
Although Tampa was generating attempts, they weren’t translating to actual shots. Columbus was taking all of the shots until just over eight minutes into quintuple overtime, Dean Kukan took a delay of game penalty. Tampa Bay is on the power-play. Once again, they generated chances but none of them were getting to Korpisalo, much less past him.
There was a controversial non-call on Victor Hedman. Cam Atkinson picked off a pass in the Blue Jackets zone and got an extra step ahead of Hedman. On a break-away Hedman come up behind him and batted away at the puck, Atkinson fell down and into the net.
As you can see, Columbus was still controlling the offensive chances. This was until a puck bounced off Vladislav Gavrikov. Brayden Point picked it up, pulled back, and sniped it top corner, and with that, the Lightning win game one in the fifth overtime.
Even though they lost, Columbus played a hard-fought game. Seth Jones set a record for ice-time in a playoff game clocking in 65:06 of time on ice. Breaking the previous record held by Sergei Zubov who played 63:51 in a 2003 playoff game. Jones later told the media “I’m fine.” when asked how he felt playing such a long amount of time. As previously mentioned, Korpisalo set his franchise record for saves but he also set an NHL record. Korpisalo stopped 85 out of 88 shots he faced claiming the NHL’s playoff record for saves in a playoff game. He broke the previous record of 75 held by Kelly Hrudey since 1987. Ironically, Hrudey was a member of the broadcast team for this game. Although they’d probably rather have the win, they can at least have the consolation prize of breaking two NHL records.
Tampa was lucky to get the win. They played very well throughout most of the game but it looked like Columbus might have pulled away with how the fifth overtime period was trending. Regardless, it was a hard-fought and deserved victory. They controlled most of the quality chances, and of course, the shots were 88-63. If it wasn’t for the play of the opposing netminder they would have certainly run away with this much sooner.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Seth Jones
⭐️⭐️ – Joonas Korpisalo
⭐️ – Joonas Korpisalo
⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Andrei Vasilevskiy
⭐️⭐️ – Victor Hedman
⭐️ – Brayden Point
Lastly, I wanted to leave you all with this funny tweet from the man who contributes the majority of these GIFs.
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