Lightning prevail in Game 1 after 6 hours, 5 OTs

After six hours, five overtimes and a combined 151 shots on goal, the Tampa Bay Lightning won an epic Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

Brayden Point scored 150 minutes, 27 seconds into the contest to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 win.

“It was very special,” Lightning forward Yanni Gourde said. “We were all exhausted. We were all looking for a goal. When we all saw that go in, it was a lot of emotion.”

And on the winning goal, well, there wasn’t much science to it: “I see a rolling puck coming to me, I just throw it on net. I’m not even thinking,” Point said.

It was the fourth-longest playoff game in NHL history — so long that the Boston BruinsCarolina Hurricanes game, originally slated for Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, was rescheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. It takes arena workers roughly 90 minutes to disinfect the benches and clean the ice between games; including warm-ups, Boston and Carolina faced a start time typically reserved for beer leaguers.

Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 85 saves, a new NHL playoff record — topping New York Islanders goaltender Kelly Hrudey’s previous mark of 73 saves, set in 1987. Columbus blocked 62 shots in the game.

The Lightning alone tallied 88 shots on goal, as many as the New York Rangers had combined in their three games against the Hurricanes in the qualification round.

“I’m actually hoping that Korpisalo breaks the 100-save mark,” Hrudey said in an interview on Sportsnet between overtime periods. “And I’m really hoping the game goes so long that [Andrei] Vasilevskiy breaks my record, as well. It’s just an incredible performance. I’ve been waiting for this for 20-something years, at least.”

Vasilevskiy finished with 61 saves.

Columbus defenseman Seth Jones also set a new NHL playoff record for 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 bested his father, former NBA player Popeye Jones, for minutes played in a game. Popeye Jones’ career high was 56 minutes in 1996, while with the Toronto Raptors, during a three-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.

After the game, Seth Jones said he “feels fine” but that he took umbrage to the way the game was called.

“The officiating was, to me, kinda suspect,” Jones said.

Every player on each team registered a shot on goal except for Columbus’ Cam Atkinson, though Atkinson did have a breakaway opportunity shortly before Point scored. Atkinson crashed into the net after being chased down by a defender, but there was no penalty called on the play.

At one TV timeout in the fourth overtime period, the big screen in the fanless Scotiabank Arena announced it was time for a seventh-inning stretch. By the fifth overtime, a new message appeared: “Sorry if you had other plans tonight.”

The Blue Jackets already had tired legs, playing their sixth game in nine days, including two that went to overtime.

Players on both sides said the mental fatigue was as exhausting as the physical fatigue.

“There’s no way to prepare for a game that goes that long,” Point said.

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