Korpisalo Stands Tall, Columbus Wins 3-1

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Photo Taken by Dinur Blum

If the Tampa Bay Lightning wants to take a 2-0 series lead, they’ll have to continue to do the things that made them successful last game. Relentlessly pepper Joonas Korpisalo, make him make a save. They’ll also need to clean up their mistakes because as they learned, Columbus will capitalize if you give them an opportunity.

If the Columbus Blue Jackets want to tie the series, they’ll need to limit the Lightning’s onslaught or at the very least, prevent them from getting as many quality chances. Offensively, it will be a little hard for them as they’ll be without wingers Cam Atkinson and Nathan Gerbe

First Period

The Lightning came out of the gate like a team that did not want to go to five overtimes again.  They left everything out on the ice and were threw everything at Joonas Korpisalo. It paid off as just over five minutes into the period Ondrej Palat fired a shot from between the faceoff circles that missed the net. Nikita Kucherov scooped it up from behind and back-handed it off Korpisalo and into the net, 1-0 Lightning.

Minutes later, the Lightning get a power play from a Seth Jones tripping minor. They continue to barrage Korpisalo with pucks but nothing comes of the man advantage. Finally, after just over 12 minutes into the opening period, Nick Foligno takes the Blue Jackets first shot of the game. Then, less than a minute later, a puck battle along the boards sees a Blue Jacket send a pass over to Pierre-Luc Dubois. He sends a pass to the slot and Ryan Murray makes no mistake, tie game 1-1. 

With just under two minutes left in the period, Oliver Bjorkstrand sends a cross-ice pass over to Alexandre Texier, he moves the puck up to Dubois – who is behind the net. He passes it back out to Bjorkstrand who fires it far side to put the Jackets up, 2-1.

At the end of the first, it was a pretty split period. Shots were 12-6 in favour of Tampa, who was very strong for the first half of the period. After Columbus got their first shot, they took over the rest of the period and were able to get two.

Second Period

In this period, it was obvious who was trailing in the score. The Lightning were trying their hardest to even the score but Korpisalo stood tall. The shots were much more even in the second and the Lightning were unable to maintain pressure for long periods of time and ultimately, they were unable to solve Korpisalo. Power plays were hard to come by as the only penalty all period went to Alex Killorn who received a minor penalty for holding.

After the second, the Lightning still trail 2-1. They outshot the Blue Jackets 14-10, giving them a 26-16 lead on the game up to this point.

Third Period

The Lightning continued to push in the third period and for the first ten minutes, it looked like they might break through. Even fighting off a Brayden Point high-sticking call just over five minutes into the period. Although Columbus didn’t score on the ensuing power play, they did score a few minutes later. 

Alexander Wennberg came racing into the Lightning zone after receiving a pass. He danced around Kevin Shattenkirk and crashed the net, tucking it in past Andrei Vasilevskiy. This would end up being the final nail in the coffin but the Lightning continued to press. Jon Cooper made the decision to pull Vasilevskiy with around four minutes to go but the extra man couldn’t help them get out of the hole. Blue Jackets win 4-1.

Final Thoughts

Once again, a major x-factor in this game was Joonas Korpisalo. Tampa continued to fire a barrage of pucks at him but only one got past him, even with leading 37-22 in the shot category. Credit as well to the Blue Jackets who fought hard and were able to hold off Tampa’s attacks.

Preview of Game Three

If Tampa Bay wants to tie the series, which I think they do. They’ll have to figure out a way to beat Joonas Korpisalo. To do that, they need to put more pressure in front of the net and bang in greasy goals. The defensive structure of the Blue Jackets makes it hard to score from anywhere else and Korpisalo’s talent level helps with that as well.

If Columbus wants to take the 2-1 series lead, they’ll need to continue their excellent defensive play. They’ll also need Korpisalo to continue to stand on his head. They have the talent to score goals but they lack a lot of the star power other teams have so they’ll need to keep with their game-plan that’s been successful thus far.

3 Stars:

Tampa Bay

⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Brayden Point

⭐️⭐️ – Blake Coleman

⭐️ – Nikita Kucherov

Columbus

⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Ryan Murray

⭐️⭐️ – Pierre-Luc Dubois

⭐️ – Joonas Korpisalo

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Photo credit: Dinur Blum(@rabbi_d) via Flickr.

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