Already playing in extraordinary circumstances, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets competed in an extraordinarily long NHL playoff game on Tuesday, prompting the league to postpone the Eastern Conference game that was set to follow at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.
The opening faceoff for Game 1 of the Lightning and Blue Jackets’ first round playoff series was scheduled for 3 p.m. ET but it wasn’t until after 9:30 p.m that Tampa forward Brayden Point put the game away with a goal at the 10:27 mark of the fifth overtime period.
“I don’t know how many guys played a game like that, that long,” Point said after the game.
“It was an exciting one.”
Because of the NHL’s return-to-play plan seeing multiple games often played on the same day in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto, the lengthy overtime spurred the league to postpone Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes until Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET. Those teams were to begin their series at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.
The Hurricanes organization took to Twitter with some cheeky posts about the delay.
“Hey @NHL, not to tattle but we were supposed to play at 8:00 and the @BlueJacketsNHL and @TBLightning won’t get off the ice,” the team tweeted at one point.
The NHL also had some fun with the unique circumstance, tweeting “Permission to stay up past bed time: Granted. #StanleyCup.”
The game ended up being the fourth-longest in Stanley Cup playoff history.
NHL playoff games are being played in the hub cities this year in an effort to safely compete during the COVID-19 pandemic by having players live and play in a “bubble” that is essentially cut off from the outside world, mitigating the risk of coronavirus transmission.
While the Lightning won 3-2, Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo still came away with an NHL playoff record, according to ESPN, making 85 saves in the losing effort. Former New York Islanders netminder Kelly Hrudey held the record until Tuesday when he recorded 73 saves in a 1987 win over the Washington Capitals.
“You just try to go save by save, not thinking too much,” Korpisalo said after the game.
“I think I felt pretty good. The boys, they were battling hard in front of me.”
Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy was busy for Tampa Bay as well, making 61 saves.
Tampa Bay and Columbus combined for 151 shots which is the most ever recorded in an NHL game since the league began officially tracking the statistic in 1955-56.
–With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press
Watch below: Some recent Global News videos about the NHL.