There was one for the ages. The fifth-longest game in NHL history and the Tampa Bay Lightning get the win 3-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Braydon Point put the puck behind Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo who made a mind-boggling 85 saves at 10:27 of the fifth overtime to give the Lightning a 1-0 series lead.
Everyone that this was going to be a long hard-fought series. What no one anticipated was an epic five-overtime thriller to start the best of seven-game series.
The Lightning fell behind early on a Pierre Luc Dubois goal at the 2:39 mark of the first period. Braydon Point would tie it up for Lightning at 6:27 of the period.
Oliver Bjorkstrand got his first goal of the playoffs in the second period to put the Jackets up 2-1.
That lead would not last long as Yanni Gourde would tie it up for the Lightning, :23 seconds into the third period.
That would be the last goal for 110 minutes and 27 seconds before Point would get the game-winner.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was outstanding as he stopped 61 shots. He seemed to get stronger as the game went along.
The Blue Jackets as a team blocked 62 shots led by David Savard who had 11. That is in addition to the 85 saves made by Korpisalo.
The second biggest surprise of the game was the play of Victor Hedman. It was surprising to see Hedman on the ice for warm-ups after the way he left the ice on Saturday against Philadelphia.
What was more impressive was the fact that Hedman was able to lead the Lightning in ice time with 57:38.
Hedman’s play was a huge factor in the win against the Blue Jackets
Jon Cooper said that they kept talking to Hedman on the bench trying to make sure that they weren’t going to give him too many minutes. Hedman’s reply was “I feel good put me out there.”
“I don’t think anybody can understand how hard it is on a player to go through that and still be able to make the plays they were making.” Jon Cooper said. “It was remarkable.”
Today was an off day for the Lightning. They have to be ready for game 2 of this series at 3 PM Thursday.
The Lightning took a 1-0 Series by playing a different game than what we saw in last year’s series.
There were times last year when the Lightning would get down early in the game and throw the gameplan out the window. They were very undisciplined at times.
Cooper was curious to see how the Lightning would respond after Columbus took an early 1-0 lead. Cooper was happy to see the Lightning stick with the plan and it paid off.
What we saw Tuesday was a different Lightning team. A team that played disciplined hockey and didn’t let Columbus frustrate them and get them off their game.
No word today on whether Steven Stamkos will be ready to play for the Lightning. Stamkos has missed the Lightning’s four games so far in Toronto.