The Blue Jackets lost Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs series against Tampa Bay, dropping a 3-2 five-overtime decision against final on Tuesday afternoon in Toronto.
Game in a Paragraph
In the longest game in franchise history and the fourth longest in league history, the Blue Jackets and Bolts played a marathon that will go down in the NHL history books. Columbus took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but Tampa Bay answered each time. The second goal led to overtime -- five of them, in fact, and finally Brayden Point's second goal of the game ended things after 150:27 of hockey.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his fourth goal of the playoffs in the opening minutes to give Columbus a 1-0 lead. He also added an assist to give him a 4-2-6 line in six playoff games so far this year.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied his first goal of the postseason with a late second-period tally to make it a 2-1 game.
- Joonas Korpisalo made an NHL postseason record 83 saves as he continued his excellent playoff performance.
Video: CBJ@TBL, Gm1: Korpisalo sets record with 74th save
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "Get some rest and get ready to play the next game."
In a scene eerily reminiscent of last year's CBJ sweep, the Blue Jackets tallied a power-play goal in the opening moments to take the lead. Alexandre Texier got open in the left circle, and his wrist shot deflected off a Tampa Bay stick then Dubois in front of the net to get behind Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy just 2:39 into the game.
Columbus then stacked together a few chances to add to the lead as Vasilevskiy stopped Eric Robinson when he got loose in the right circle as well as Liam Foudy alone in front. That allowed Tampa Bay to tie the score at the 6:27 mark, as Victor Hedman's shot from the left point went to Nikita Kucherov, whose shot from low on the left hit the calf of Brayden Point and got behind Korpisalo to make it a 1-1 game.
The Blue Jackets had another chance to tally near the midway point as Nick Foligno slipped a pass to Boone Jenner for a breakaway, but Vasilevskiy waited him out and made the pad save on his chance.
Korpisalo had a clutch denial of a Kucherov slapper early in the second with the CBJ a man down, then Columbus had another gilded chance early in the second period. Robinson dumped the puck in and it took an odd hop off the boards right back to him as Vasilevskiy left his net to play the puck, but the Tampa goalie dove back into the crease and made the stop as Robinson let go the shot.
Then with just 47.2 seconds left in the second period, Bjorkstrand opened his postseason account to give Columbus a 2-1 lead. It was a goal scorer's goal, with Bjorkstrand completing a good shift by the Blue Jackets by ripping a hard shot from the right-wing boards that snuck over the shoulder of Vasilevskiy and went off the bar and in.
Video: CBJ@TBL, Gm1: Bjorkstrand scores from tough angle
Tampa Bay needed just 23 seconds of the third period to answer and make it a 2-2 game. It was a bit of an odd play, as a shot on Korpisalo deflected in front of him and slid toward the post. As the CBJ goalie dove back to try to cover the puck, Yanni Gourde knocked it back into the crease and Korpisalo's pad inadvertently kicked the puck into the net.
With about seven minutes to go, Korpisalo made perhaps his save of the game as Pat Maroon played in Mitchell Stephens alone in transition, but the CBJ goalie moved to his right to make the stop and then scrambled to keep the puck out of the net in the ensuing battle for the rebound.
In the first overtime, the teams traded chances for the first few minutes before Tampa Bay carried play late in the period. Cedric Paquette hit the crossbar at one point through a screen and Anthony Cirelli fired from the slot only to see Korpisalo get a glove on it as part of Tampa's best chances.
Kucherov had a look early in the second overtime as the trailing player on a rush but missed the net. From there, the teams played an even frame, with Columbus having a 10-6 edge in shots on goal.
In overtime No. 3, Tampa Bay fourth liner Mitchell Stephens had a chance early as he was alone in the low left circle, but Korpisalo swallowed up his try. The Lightning also got a power play in the third overtime as Nick Foligno went off for high sticking, but Korpisalo was equal to the task. Bjorkstrand went for his second goal of the game about seven minutes into the period, but his chipped shot on a rebound floated past the corner of the net.
The fourth overtime came and went with Tampa Bay holding a 14-8 edge in shots on goal. Then, 10:27 into the fifth overtime, the Lightning got the winner as a shot struck Vladislav Gavrikov up high before Point collected the rebound and beat Korpisalo over the blocker with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
Dean Kukan earned an assist on the Bjorkstrand goal for his first point of this postseason. … Seth Jones played an NHL all-time record of 65:06 in the contest. ... Bjorkstrand's goal was his first this postseason after leading Columbus with 21 goals during the regular season. … The Blue Jackets have a first-period goal in three straight games. … The teams set an NHL record for combined shots on goal in a playoff game. ... Columbus is 6-6 all-time in playoff overtime and 1-2 this season. ... The game was the first game to go at least three overtimes in franchise history and the fifth five-OT game in NHL history. ... It was Columbus' fourth game in six days, with three of them going to OT. ... Entering the game, teams that win Game 1 in a best-of-seven series held an all-time series record of 478-219 (68.6 percent).
The Blue Jackets went back to an 12-forward, six-defenseman setup for Game 1 after playing an 11/7 roster in the final game vs. Toronto. Natan Gerbe thus returned to the lineup in place of Markus Nutivaara. The other scratches were forwards Josh Anderson (unfit to play), Emil Bemstrom, Stefan Matteau, Devin Shore and Kevin Stenlund, as well as defensemen Gabriel Carlsson, Adam Clendening, Scott Harrington, Markus Nutivaara and Andrew Peeke. In addition, goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was unfit to play.
The Blue Jackets and Lightning meet again with another matinee as Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m.