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More than six hours after the game began, Tampa Lightning center Brayden Point slapped a shot past record-breaking Columbus Blue Jackets’ goalkeeper Joonas Korpisalo with 9:33 left in the fifth overtime to get the Tampa Lightning a 3-2 victory and a 1-0 series lead. The game lasted over six hours long, pushing back the start of the Carolina Hurricanes-Boston Bruins to 11:00 a.m. EST tomorrow morning when it was supposed to take place at 8:00 p.m. EST tonight.
I previewed this series for The Rich Report, a series with the juiciest backstory from all the first-round series. Last year, the Lightning stormed into the playoffs as the President’s Trophy winner, hoping to capture a Stanley Cup trophy that has eluded this core for the last six years. The Lightning bolted to a 3-0 lead in Game 1 and the series looked chalk.
Instead, Columbus rallied to win Game 1 4-3 and swept the remaining games. They swept the President’s Trophy winner, winning their first ever playoff series.
The Blue Jackets had a crazy five-game series in the qualifiers against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Shockingly, the teams exchanged 3-0 comebacks before Columbus took game five 3-0 on a shutout from Korpisalo.
The stage was set for Game 1, the opener to round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The teams exchanged goals as we headed into overtime.
First overtime. I was thrilled as a fan to see the first game of the round head into overtime, especially this one. No goals and we headed to a second overtime.
Second overtime. This is when the game started to really escalate. The Lightning blitzed Korpisalo but they could not find the back of the net. Columbus held on for another overtime.
Third overtime. Same as the second overtime, Korpisalo again snuffed out the Lightning’s chances and it was at this point where this game was starting to become special. Three overtime games are rare. Four are even more rare.
Fourth overtime. Columbus was starting to get great chances but could not convert. Utter madness ensued as the Canes-Bruins game was pushed forward to tomorrow.
Fifth overtime. At this point, no one could look away. My social media feed was blowing up and my roommate and I were losing our minds. The players looked gassed and even the referees seemed to mentally check out with missed calls (Blue Jackets’ Cam Atkinson was hit by Victor Hedman and no penalty was called). With only two shots on goal during the fifth overtime, Point made it count and gave the Lightning the win. It was small retribution, but they still have three more to win to exact full revenge for last year.
It was an absolute classic that left me and many watching in awe. I will never forget this game and I hope the rest of the series provides more fun action.