After six hours, five hours out and a combined 151 shots on goal, Tampa Bay Lightning won an epic 1 game against the Blue Columbus jackets on Tuesday night.
Brayden Point scored 150 minutes, 27 seconds in the race to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 victory.
“It was very special,” Yanni Gourde said before the lightning. “We were all exhausted. We were all looking for a goal. When we all saw they were coming in, it was a lot of emotion.”
And, on the winning goal, then, there was not much science to it: “I see a moving ball coming at me, I just throw it into the net. I’m not even thinking,” Point said.
It was the fourth longest playoff game in NHL history – as long as the Boston Bruins-Carolina Hurricanes game, originally scheduled for Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET, was rebuilt for Wednesday at 11 a.m. It takes arena workers about 90 minutes to disinfect benches and clear ice between games; including the heat, Boston and Carolina faced a start time usually reserved for beer leaguers.
Blue jersey goalkeeper Joonas Korpisalo made 85 saves, a new record for NHL play-offs – topping New York Islanders New York Island goalkeeper Kelly Hrudey with 73 saves, set in 1987. Columbus blocked 62 shots per game.
Lightning alone scored 88 shots on goal, enough that the New York Rangers had combined in their three games against the Hurricanes in the qualifying round.
“I’m really hoping Corpisalo breaks the 100 savings mark,” Hrudey said in an interview with Sportsnet between overtime periods. “And I really hope the game will last that long [Andrei] Vasilevskiy broke my record, too. It is simply an extraordinary performance. “I’ve been waiting for this for 20 years or so, at least.”
Vasilevskiy finished with 61 savings.
Columbus defender Seth Jones also set a new record for NHL play off ice time, skating in 65 minutes, 6 seconds, which beat Sergei Zubov’s old record of 63 minutes, 51 seconds, for the Dallas Stars in 2003. Jones even did his best his father, former NBA player Popeye Jones, played for minutes in a game. Popeye Jones’s top career was 56 minutes in 1996, while with the Toronto Raptors, during a three-hour loss to the Boston Celtics.
After the match, Seth Jones said he “feels good” but that he got impressed with the way the game was called.
“The officer was, to me, kinda suspicious,” Jones said.
Playerdo player on each team recorded a shot on goal, except Columbus’ Cam Atkinson, though Atkinson had a chance to leave just before scoring Point. Atkinson crashed into the net after being chased by a defender but was not given any penalty in the game.
At one point in TV time in the fourth overtime period, the big screen on the Scotiabank fanless stage announced it was time for a seventh extension. By the fifth hour of work, a new message appeared: “Sorry if you had any other plans tonight”.
The Blue Jackets already had tired legs, playing their sixth game in nine days, including two that went overtime.
Players from both sides said mental fatigue was just as exhausting as physical fatigue.
“There is no way to prepare for a game that goes on for so long,” Point said.