Lightning can’t solve Korpisalo in defeat

by Gary Shelton on August 14, 2020

in general

Kucherov scored the Lighting's only goal./CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 4 a.m.

If you want to measure the difference between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the victorious Columbus Blue Jackets, you can start small.

"A half-second away" is how Ryan McDonaugh termed it. "A half-stride away."

"Two seconds here, two seconds there," said Alex Killorn.

The real distance in the Lightning's 3-1 Game Two loss, which evened the series at 1-1, was six feet, three inches and 191 pounds. It goes by the name Jones Korpisalo.

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For the second straight game, Korpisalo as a wall. Despite the Lightning's efforts, Korpisalo stopped 36 of 37 shots during the game. Sound impressive. Consider that it's 49 shots fewer than he stopped in the first game.

"I can’t sit here and say we’re not generating offense," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "We’re generating a lot of offense. They’re just not going in. They will eventually go in. When you're out-chancing the other team at spot point, the’ve got to go in."

Maybe, maybe not. Korpisalo -- a backup last year when the Blue Jackets swept the Lightning -- has been sharp throughout the playoffs. The only goal he allowed Thursday was a Nikita Kucherov shot off of his back.

"I think we had an exceptional start," Cooper said. "We did everything we wanted to. We dictated play. We scored that first goal. We might have got a little comfortable. The second that happens to you ... what happed tonight can get you."

McDonagh suggested that the Blue Devils were winning the special teams battle, a suggestion that Cooper didn't buy. Nevertheless, the Blue Jackets have scored twice on the power play after not scoring their entire series against Toronto.

Game Three is Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

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