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Lightning Outlast Blue Jackets 3-2 in 5 OT Thriller

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Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) picks up a holding call as Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) makes a short handed breakaway attempt on Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Toronto. Photo: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP.

TORONTO (AP) — By the time he launched the last shot, Brayden Point was just trying to do anything he could to end the fourth-longest game in NHL history.

“I just see a rolling puck and I just throw it on net,” Point said after scoring 10:27 into the fifth overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in their playoff opener Tuesday.

“I’m not really aiming,” he added. “Just sling one there and lucky enough it finds a corner.″

Point scored from just above the left circle, beating Joonas Korpisalo after the goaltender made an NHL-record 85 saves. The 24-year-old forward also scored way back in the first period of Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy bought time for Point and Co. with 61 saves for Tampa Bay. The teams combined for 151 shots — most in an NHL game since the league began officially tracking the statistic in 1955-56.

“It’s tiring for sure but then it gets fun at some point,” Point said. “I don’t know how many guys played a game like that, that long. It was an exciting one.”

The teams are meeting in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year, with the Lightning looking to rebound from being swept 16 months ago by the underdog Blue Jackets, who became the first No. 8 seed to oust the winner of the Presidents’ Trophy in four games.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored on the power play and Oliver Bjorkstrand added a goal late in the second period to give Columbus — the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference — a pair of short-lived leads in regulation.

Yanni Gourde had the other goal for the second-seeded Lightning, who got the game-winner from Point shortly after Columbus was denied a chance to potentially end the six-hour marathon with Cam Atkinson barreling in on Vasilevskiy on a short-handed breakaway.

Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman caught up to Atkinson, though, before pushing him to the ice while flicking the puck away. No penalty was called.

“Don’t ask me about the non-call,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said.

Columbus defenseman Seth Jones, who logged an NHL-record 65 minutes, six seconds of ice time, said the officials didn’t say why a penalty was not called.

“I’d like them to come up here and give an explanation,” Jones said.

Torotrella, meanwhile, looked ahead. Asked what advice he had given his team, which played an overtime game for the third time in six days.

“Get some rest and get ready to play the next game,” the coach said.

Game 2 is Thursday.

The Blue Jackets expect to rebound.

“You’re going to lose games, and this was just a long overtime game that we lost. It’s no different,” Bjorkstrand said. “We’ve just got to bounce back and be ready for the next game.”

While there’s no denying last season’s early exit from the playoffs has been a source of motivation for much of the past 16 months, coach Jon Cooper and the Lightning insist this series is about a lot more than redemption.

After all, both teams have decidedly different looks, with Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene no longer with Columbus, and Pat Maroon, Kevin Shattenkirk and Blake Coleman bolstering Tampa Bay’s talent-laden roster.

The Lightning played Game 1 without injured captain Steven Stamkos. But Hedman, who appeared to twist an ankle during last Saturday’s round-robin finale against Philadelphia, skated and had an assist on Tampa Bay’s first goal.

With goaltender Elvis Merzlikins ruled out for the opener, Korpisalo started for Columbus and kept his team close by stopping 26 of 27 shots in the first two periods. The Lightning pulled even at 2-all on Gourde’s goal just 23 seconds into the third, but weren’t able to finish it off in regulation despite outshooting the Blue Jackets 41-26 up to that point.

“You just try to go save by save, not thinking too much,” Korpisalo said. “I think I felt pretty good. The boys, they were battling hard in front of me.”

The teams created numerous scoring opportunities in overtime, however Korpisalo and Vasilevskiy remained on top of their games.

“Korpi, he was fantastic,” Tortorella said.

“It was an unreal performance by both teams, but especially by both goaltenders.,” Hedman said. “They don’t get to sit on the bench for a couple minutes, they have to be sharp the entire time.”

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Lightning Sign D Mikhail Sergachev, F Anthony Cirelli and D Erik Cernak to Eight-Year Contract Extensions

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Photo: NHL.

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, forward Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak each to an eight-year contract extension, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Sergachev, 24, has skated in 362 career regular season games, 358 of them with the Lightning, notching 36 goals and 174 points. He ranks fifth all-time in Tampa Bay franchise history among defensemen for goals and scoring and fourth for assists (138). The former ninth overall pick (of Montreal) in the 2016 NHL Draft has also played in 92 postseason games and posted eight goals and 30 points. He ranks second in Lightning history among defensemen for playoff games, goals, assists (22) and scoring. Sergachev’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $8.5 million.

Cirelli, 24, has skated in 294 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, recording 66 goals and 159 points. During the 2021-22 season, Cirelli posted 17-26—43 points in 76 games played, one point shy of his career high 16-28—44 pts. from the 2019-20 season. He led Tampa Bay forwards for blocked shots (67), ranked sixth in the NHL for penalties drawn (42) and finished fifth in Selke Trophy voting in 2021-22. In postseason play, Cirelli has notched 14 goals and 34 points in 92 games, ranking 11th all-time in Lightning playoff history for scoring. Cirelli’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $6.25 million.

Cernak, 25, has skated in 226 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, posting 16 goals, 59 points and a plus-51 rating. During the 2021-22 regular season, the Kosice, Slovakia native notched a goal and 13 points and led the Lightning for hits (165) in 55 games. Cernak has played in 73 career postseason games, recording two goals and 19 points. He netted the Stanley Cup-opening goal in Game 1 of the 2021 Cup Final versus Montreal, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to net his first career playoff goal in a Stanley Cup Final. A second round selection of the Los Angeles Kings (43rd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Cernak was traded to the Lightning on February 26, 2017. Cernak’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $5.2 million.

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NHL: Lightning Re-Sign Forward Simon Ryfors to a One-Year, Two-Way Contract

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Simon Ryfors had two goals and an assist in the Lightning’s 5-2 win over Nashville in the opening game of the NHL Prospect Showcase Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena. Photo: Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times.

TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Simon Ryfors to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced.

Ryfors, 24, played in 72 games during the regular season for the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay’s American Hockey League affiliate, posting 11 goals and 35 points, ranking tied for seventh on the Crunch for scoring. He also skated in five Calder Cup Playoff games with the Crunch and notched a goal, assist and a plus-four rating.

The Stockholm, Sweden native originally signed with the Lightning organization on May 12, 2021. Prior to that, he skated seven seasons with Rogle BK of the SHL, tallying 41 goals and 93 points to go along with 165 penalty minutes in 250 games. He set career bests in the SHL in 2020-21 for goals (25), assists (20) and points (45).

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Lightning Acquire F Brandon Hagel, Two 4th Round Picks from Chicago

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Forward Brandon Hagel. Photo: NHL.

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Tampa Bay Lightning // The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Brandon Hagel, Chicago’s fourth-round selection in 2022 and fourth-round pick in 2024 from the Blackhawks in exchange for forwards Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, Tampa’s first-round selection in 2023 and first-round selection in 2024, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today. Both first-round picks the Lightning are sending to Chicago are top 10 protected.

Hagel, 23, has played in 55 games so far this season for Chicago, recording 21 goals and 37 points. Hagel ranks second on the Blackhawks for goals and game-winning goals (3) and fourth for scoring and power-play goals (4). In 108 games with Chicago over three seasons, Hagel has posted 30 goals and 61 points. He made his NHL debut March 11, 2020 versus San Jose, the only game he played during the 2019-20 season. Hagel is under contract through the 2023-2024 season with a salary cap number of $1,500,000.

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