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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Indescribable cool: a hockey hero who didn’t need a hat trick to put the Blue Jackets ahead, then added an extra goal in double overtime

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A couple weeks ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets played the Tampa Bay Lightning in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup first-round series. The Blue Jackets went up 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, including winning a deciding Game 5 in overtime.

In the third period of Game 5, the Tampa Bay Lightning had a 5-3 lead and had just come out of their penalty box for a five-on-three power play. They were offside on the play.

Cameron Gaunce had the puck. Seth Jones had to chase him down. David Pastrnak then stepped into the gap and received a feed from Gaunce. Pastrnak made a dazzling move and beat an overstocked Steve Mason to tie the game with 0.4 seconds left in regulation.

Again, on Friday night, the Blue Jackets again had the Lightning — outscoring them 8-2 in this series, including beating them in overtime in Games 3 and 4 — but couldn’t win Game 5, losing to the Lightning 2-1 in double overtime.

Gaunce did this. He and Jones were shorthanded when Pastrnak delivered the puck to Gaunce. The man-advantage scoring chance didn’t bother Gaunce. He just finished.

There was a base hit, then a hit and a feed and Gaunce made the play look easy.

You can see how all of this bounces. But that’s where the excitement ends. This was merely a series for the Blue Jackets. And even here in the arena where the team grew up, the Cleveland Cavaliers might have been able to steal some of the thunder.

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