It was the best and worst of games for the Lightning.
The first ten minutes of the game were some of the best hockey the Lightning has played in Toronto as Tyler Johnson and Blake Coleman scored one minute apart to put the Lightning up 2-0.
The Lightning then took their foot off the gas and let the Blue Jackets slowly climb back in as they began resting on their laurels a bit too much.
Nick Foligno scored his second goal of the playoffs halfway through the First period to cut the Lightning lead to 2-1.
It was all Blue Jackets for the next 32 minutes as they outplayed the Lightning in all phases of the game to take a 4-2 lead.
Down 4-2 with eight minutes to go, just shows you how much mentally this team has grown from last year. The Lightning would have packed it in last year and not been able to make that comeback
Kevin Shattenkirk started the comeback with a shot that got by Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo to cut the deficit to 4-3.
There was still work to be done though, and Anthony Cirelli answered the call at the 18:22 mark as he scored his first of the playoffs that would tie the game and send the game to overtime.
The Lightning was outshot 30-15 over the second and third periods. The Lightning was also badly outplayed in every facet of the game.
From The 10 minute mark of the first period until the eight minutes mark of the third period, the Lightning played some of the worst hockey of the five-game playoff series.
Braydon point who has been one of the best Lightning players in the playoffs scored his fifth goal of the playoffs at 5:12 of overtime to give the Lightning the win and send them to the second round.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stood tall the entire series. Vasilevskiy has stopped 242 out 261 shots in the playoffs counting the three round-robin games.
Vasilevskiy has a 1.98 GAA and a .927 save percentage. If Vasilevskiy continues to play at this level, the Lightning will be hard to beat.
It’s hard to play at a high level for 82 games during the regular season. It’s also hard to play at a high level for 60 minutes of every single game of every series.
What these eight games in Toronto have proven to the Lightning is that they can play any style of game with anybody.
Their speed is equal to any team left in the playoffs. They were the more physical team in the Columbus series and all three of the round-robin games.
Copper said there was never any doubt that the Lightning would come out on top in the series. “Believe’ is a huge word, probably gets thrown around too much. We’ve done it so much in this series. It’s funny how momentum works. It was just the little things we didn’t do, and a lot of it was between our ears again.”
“It turns out we got a second chance, and oftentimes you don’t get that second chance. It’s what you do with it. You give the players the framework, but in the end, we left it with them, and they rose to the occasion.“
The Lightning doesn’t know who their second-round opponent will be as the teams will be reseeded after the first round.
For now, the Lightning will take a few days and enjoy this series before they get back to business next week.