Give the Lightning credit, they never got out of their game plan. Despite giving up an early goal and seeing some eerie similarities to last season, they kept the pressure on the Blue Jackets and finally managed to get one past Joonas Korpisalo in the fifth overtime of Game 1. For Columbus it was their third overtime game in six nights and fourth game overall in that time span. You have to wonder if all of that hockey is going to catch up with them.
With no extra breaks in the schedule (the teams play every other day through the first four games), they might not recover. The Lightning have to feel good about pulling off the victory and know that there is no way Korpisalo can duplicate that performance throughout the series.
If they keep playing like they did on Tuesday Tampa Bay should win pretty easily. Andrei Vasilevskiy looked really sharp in the game (it’s not often that a goaltender making 61 saves is overshadowed) and that bodes well for the Lightning.
One win isn’t the series, and the Lightning have to keep the pressure going for the rest of their match-ups. Part of the reason they dominated the overtime sessions is because Columbus can’t match their forward depth, and they have to press that advantage.
The Game to Outlast All Games
Matt drew the short straw and had to somehow recap 7+ periods of hockey yesterday. [Raw Charge]
...Columbus got shellacked for the entire game and were bailed out by an absolutely Herculean effort from Korpisalo. Speaking of Korpisalo, this game, even though it was a loss, should go into the Hall of Fame for how stellar he was for Columbus. They were not even close to the better team in this game and no matter how much folks want them to be they’re not.
The numbers for this game are so absurd there is really no point to talk about it. Just go look it up and stare at it in awe. Just absolutely absurd.
Let’s not do this again. Please.
Brayden Point and Victor Hedman talk to the press after the game.
A recap from the other side of the ice. [Jackets Cannon]
Hell of an effort from Joonas Korpisalo. Set a record for postseason saves by a goaltender. He was outstanding and there was nothing he could do at the end on the Point effort. Kudos to Korpi for keeping them alive as long as he could.
I mean ... I got nothing else at this point.
Coach Tortorella was his usual brusque self following the loss.
Tortorella’s thoughts on the non call. pic.twitter.com/W1Rw6Hhi3H— The CBJ Artillery (@TheCBJArtillery) August 12, 2020
Seth Jones did speak about the Hedman play.
Seth Jones is extremely even tempered. This is as upset as I've ever seen him. pic.twitter.com/P0UGXyojCt— Lori Schmidt (@LoriSchmidt) August 12, 2020
Some News from around the league
Could Henrik Lundqvist’s career in New York be over? GM Jeff Gorton plans on carrying only two goaltenders next season and two of his options, Igor Shesterkin and Alex Georgiev, are younger and cheaper. In a perfect world for the Rangers, Lundqvist would retire and his $8.5 million cap hit would disappear. [NY Post]
The Sabres may or may not be better next season (I would vote for may not), but at least they’ll look good no matter how they play. Their jerseys will be a throwback to the royal blue sweaters they wore from 1970-1996. They are quite sharp. [NHL.com]
The Other Games:
Calgary Flames 3, Dallas Stars 2
The Western Conference got underway with a close game as the Flames had to kill off a 6-on-4 situation at the end of the game to hold onto the victory. Dillon Dube scored twice in the first period for Calgary.
Vegas Golden Knights 4, Chicago Blackhawks 1
It was 2-1 heading into the third period and then Reilly Smith scored two shorthanded goals in a five minute stretch in the final stanza. Chicago could only muster 20 shots against Robing Lehner, the goalie they sent to Vegas at the trade deadline.
Carolina Hurricanes “@” Boston Bruins
11:00 am EST - NBCSN, TVAS, SN, NESN, FS-CR
This game was originally scheduled for Tuesday night, but due to the Lightning/Blue Jackets game running long it had to be rescheduled for Wednesday morning. Expect whoever loses to make a big deal about the schedule change.
New York Islanders “@” Washington Capitals
3:00 pm EST - NBCSN, TVAS, NBCSWA, MSG, MSG+
Barring any more marathon games, Barry Trotz and his Islanders will try and upset the Washington Capitals (a team that Trotz won a Stanley Cup with). The Islanders will try and stifle the Caps offense while Washington hopes to play better than they did in the round robin portion of the post-season.
Arizona Coyotes “@” Colorado Avalanche
5:30 pm EST - NBCSN, TVAS, SN360, ALT, FS-A
Can Arizona pull off another upset? The Avalanche are a better team in almost every regard, but their goaltending is a question. Perhaps the Coyotes can exploit that.
Montreal Canadiens “@” Philadelphia Flyers
8:00 pm EST - NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN, NBCSP
The Flyers proved that they are the real deal by going undefeated in the round robin tournament. Montreal upset the Penguins. This might be a pretty good series. Or, the Flyers could steamroll them.
Vancouver Canucks “@” St. Louis Blues
10:30 pm EST - NBCSN, CBC, SN, FS-MW
The Blues slept walked through their first three games while the Canucks showed a surprisingly good offense during their play-in games. It’ll be interesting to see if they can carry that offense into this series going against a bigger, more physical team.
Enjoy the games!