The Stanley Cup Playoffs began yesterday with an instant classic between the Tampa Bay Lightning and my new favorite team from 'lumbus. Sometime after 7 P.M. I noticed that Game 1 between these age-old rivals had completed three overtimes without a winner.
I also noticed that the start of Game 1 between the Hurricanes and Bruins had been delayed. Oh no. I thought to myself. Is someone sick? Did the ice melt? (It is August after all. Strange things happen to NHL ice in the summertime.)
It took me a minute to realize that the Jackets and Bolts were to blame. They flat-out refused to get off the ice. This guy was the main culprit:
This is Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo. 24 hours ago most casual hockey fans (and most readers of this blog) would not have been able to identify him. Last night he made history in a 5-overtime thriller.
... and lost.
Tampa has an incredible offense. And the Jackets' defense kept them scoreless for over four hours. Seth Jones (son of Popeye) broke an NHL record by logging over 65 minutes of ice time. That's the equivalent of playing an entire contest plus a five-minute overtime without a single line change.
Jones and the 'lumbus boys did all they could to get my man Joonas a win - except score a friggin' goal. The Jackets were skating better than they had been at the end of that Game 4 against Toronto, but it was all in their own end. Tampa's netminder barely had to break a sweat - at least in the 4th OT.
As Korpisalo racked up save after save after save I got more and more nervous. A goaltending performance like that deserves a 'W' (or two) and I had a bad feeling he wouldn't get one. Columbus never comes through when I'm cheering for them. I was reminded of poor Ron Tugnutt, who made 70 saves in a 5OT playoff game 20 years ago. And lost.
That wasn't even the only 70-save performance of Tugger's career. (He didn't win this one, either.) I really didn't want that same fate to befall my new favorite player. For a second it looked like Connecticut's Cam Atkinson would save the day - er, night - but he ended up in the net himself after a questionable no-call.
Tampa scored shortly thereafter.
Joonas Korpisalo made 85 saves in over six hours, in the first game of the series. I hope the Jackets make life easier for him going forward. I doubt they will.
I actually have Korpi's Upper Deck rookie card. Doesn't seem like a big deal, except that this particular card was part of an Upper Deck Update series that was inserted into packs of the higher-end SP Authentic brand. I picked up this single on COMC for $1.75 four years ago and I'm very happy I did. It's the only non-Devils update RC in my collection.
I had another topic planned for today, so I'll wrap this up with one more thought. In my last post I mentioned this headline in a Toronto newspaper that made me angry (and made me a Blue Jackets fan.) Cathal Kelly wanted the Leafs to "do the league a solid by eliminating boring Blue Jackets"
Well I've got four words for that hack journalist...
I hope to see you back here in about twelve hours.
Thanks for reading!