Following the Lightning’s 3-2 win against the Blue Jackets in a fifth overtime, neither Columbus nor Tampa Bay players paid too much mind to being tired after Game 1. But then again … of course they weren’t. We can’t really expect the Blue Jackets or Lightning to say “Oh yeah, we’re spent” after Game 1, right?
It’s one thing to say that Joonas Korpisalo can just keep plugging away after making a historic 85 saves in a loss. Seth Jones and Victor Hedman said all the right things after Game 1 after long nights. But how will they actually respond in Game 2 and beyond? Actions — maybe sluggish ones — will speak louder than words.
Let’s consider some of the fatigue factors for the rest of this Blue Jackets – Lightning series after that 5 OT Game 1.
Again, the players aren’t really having this, beyond acknowledging the obvious:
PHT Coverage of Lightning Blue Jackets 5 OT Game 1 (TB won 3-2)
How Blue Jackets, Lightning may play after 5 OT Game 1
With ample help from NHL players Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp, let’s consider some factors while wondering how the Blue Jackets and Lightning may play following that 5 OT Game 1.
- The Blue Jackets, in particular, have played a lot of hockey — on top of absorbing that loss.
Consider that the Blue Jackets faced the only full five-game series of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. Let’s look at their last few games. On Thursday (Aug. 9), the Blue Jackets beat the Maple Leafs 4-3 in OT in Game 3 after a staggering, undoubtedly exhausting comeback. The next day (Friday, Aug. 7), the Maple Leafs stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to force another overtime, this time winning Game 4 by a score of 4-3 (OT). While the Maple Leafs couldn’t score in Game 5, the Blue Jackets still needed to work hard to win Game 5 3-0 on Sunday (Aug. 9).
Then, on Tuesday (Aug. 11), the Blue Jackets endured more than six hours of playoff hockey against the Lightning, only to lose. That’s a big emotional mountain to climb. Jones mentioned that after his Flyers won a comparable OT marathon against the Penguins, Philly took the rest of a series quite easily. Can Columbus avoid falling down a similar path as Jones’ opponents?
- While the Lightning eased into this series, the Blue Jackets were logging big minutes.
Yes, Seth Jones ranks as the most extreme example, with his contemporary record 65:06 TOI from that 5 OT Game 1 between the Lightning and Blue Jackets. His ice time in recent nights wasn’t exactly light, either though. Jones exceeded 30 minutes twice in that Maple Leafs series (33:11 in Game 4; 32:40 in Game 3) and played no less than 26:29.
Considering the Blue Jackets’ exacting style, those can be laborious minutes, too.
- If there’s one thing helping both teams, it’s that there isn’t any travel. One can only guess what kind of wear-and-tear difference that might add. But, hey, no jet lag is certainly a plus … only it benefits both teams.
- Jones seemed more optimistic about the Blue Jackets bouncing back than Sharp, though both give Columbus a chance.
One interesting observation was stylistic, though. Sharp noted that the pace slowed after a lengthy 2014 OT game between his Blackhawks and the Blues, and Sharp believes that benefited his skilled Blackhawks. That might seem counterintuitive at first, as you think of speed and skill going hand-in-hand.
But it’s intriguing when you consider the sheer amount of effort Columbus exerts in blocking shots and forechecking ferociously.
How will the Blue Jackets and Lightning perform after that draining 5 OT Game 1? We’ll find out as soon as Thursday (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN), and also as this series goes along.
No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 7 Columbus Blue Jackets (TB leads 1-0)
Tuesday, Aug. 11: Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2 (5 OT)
Thursday, Aug. 13: Columbus at Tampa Bay, 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Saturday, Aug. 15: Tampa Bay at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Monday, Aug. 17: Tampa Bay at Columbus, 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Wednesday, Aug. 19: Columbus at Tampa Bay – TBD
*Friday, Aug. 21: Tampa Bay at Columbus – TBD
*Saturday, Aug. 22: Columbus at Tampa Bay – TBD