Recovery race on for Blue Jackets, Lightning after quintuple overtime

Massage therapists working on a conveyor belt of sore groins, hips and backs was the aftermath of the NHL's marathon between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Game 1 of their first-round playoff series required quintuple overtime Tuesday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

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Six hours and 13 minutes after the puck dropped at 3:09 p.m. ET, the Lightning's Brayden Point scored at 10:27 of the fifth OT to end the fourth-longest game in NHL history.

Point's goal capped the longest game either franchise had ever played.

"Our training staff, today is going to be kind of their eight-period game," Lightning defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk said Wednesday during a video conference call with media.

"They're going to be working all day on us."

Neither team skated Wednesday, but the players didn't let their bodies shut down completely.

"You have to get all that lactic acid build-up out of your system," Tampa Bay forward Tyler Johnson said. "The worst thing you can do is lay around and do nothing."

A walk, a light spin on the bike, wearing compression boots and doses of pickle juice to restore sodium levels were all options.

"And I hate pickles," Johnson declared.

Players pushed themselves into the red the previous day, led by Blue Jackets defenceman Seth Jones and his NHL-record 65 minutes six seconds of ice time.

Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo's 85 saves were the most in a single game since 1955-56. Lightning counterpart Andrei Vasilevskiy's 61 stops set a franchise record.

Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella said skating Wednesday wasn't an option.

"You'd like to move the blood a little bit before you play another game, but we cancelled that," he said. "We'll have our two o'clock meeting.

"We have some (video) and our medical people have been taking care of them all day long here and getting them ready for tomorrow."

Thursday's Game 2 is another 3 p.m. puck drop, so the recovery race was on.

"Same kind of recovery, just more," Blue Jackets centre Boone Jenner said. "Your body went through a little bit more.

"Making sure you're drinking and eating enough and getting your rest. There could be overtime games back-to-back, whatever.

"So you've just got to be ready for it that way and try to get ahead of that."

Shattenkirk estimates he sheds two kilograms of water weight in a regular three-period game. Cramping was a real danger as Tuesday's game wore on.

"I found personally as we started to get into later overtimes, it was almost worse coming into the locker room and sitting down and not being active and kind of seizing up a little bit," the defenceman explained.

"A lot of electrolytes were consumed, a lot of fluids and liquids and whatever sort of food you could get into you."

With each passing overtime period, the stakes rose in terms of the enormous physical price a team would pay to fall behind in the best-of-seven series.

"It's high stakes no matter if it's a 60-minute game or whatever we played last night," Tortorella said.

"What it does is it puts a tick in the win column for them and it puts a tick in the lose column for us. You know when you put that much time into it, you're trying to get in the right column. We didn't. They did."

Johnson recalled the Lightning were somewhat giddy in the dressing room between overtimes.

"I'll always remember in the intermissions guys laughing, joking around and having fun," he said. "I don't know if it's just because we were so exhausted.

"Seth Jones just broke the record for playing the most minutes in game, so that's pretty remarkable.

"I'm proud to be a part of it, but at the same time, I don't know if I ever want to do it again."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020.

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