Blackhawks Defeat Lightning To Tie Stanley Cup Series 2-2
The Chicago Blackhawks battle back to tie the series 2-2, thus giving them at least one more home game after their trip to Tampa Bay.
Blackhawks Defeat Lightning To Tie Series
The Chicago Blackhawks desperately needed game four because they did not want to go back to Tampa down 3-1. Though the Blackhawks are built to battle back — they have the experience and won the Western Conference Finals after being down 3-2 — they would have to win two away games if they lost last night.
And again, for the third time in this series, the better team lost the game. The Lightning dominated the puck for a good portion of the night as they outshot the Hawks in two of the three periods.
But it seemed like a few key factors played into Chicago’s favor last night. First, Ben Bishop, who previously talked about how it would take a lot for him to sit, was scratched from last night’s lineup with an undisclosed lower body injury. Back up Andrei Vasilevskiy was not terrible in his first Stanley Cup start, as the two goals he let in were great offensive plays. But he still went 17 for 19 on the big stage and left a lot of rebounds on the ice.
On top of this, the big story was how both teams’ superstars have been unable to score, with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and even the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos unable to put one in the net. However, all three had decent days with both Kane and Stamkos getting a point from assists and Toews opening up the scoring in the second by putting in an uncontrolled rebound from Vasilevskiy.
Simply, if Chicago did not score during their second period onslaught, then the tides may have turned in Tampa’s favor. With this said, the Lightning would score five minutes later off a wristshot by Alex Killorn. Again, it was the result of another breakdown in the Blackhawks’ defense, as three players surrounded the tripped Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula, allowing a wide open Killorn to score.
But it was Brandon Saad, 2015 playoff legend, that would score the go ahead goal, as he somehow dragged the puck across the front of the net and put it through Vasilevskiy’s five-hole. Again, it was a nice play by Brandon — which was also a bit lucky — but a veteran goaltender would have stopped it. Saad, who is an restricted free agent next year, has eight goals in the NHL playoffs, with three of them from the Stanley Cup Finals.
Afterwards, it was the Corey Crawford show, as he survived an onslaught of Lightning attacks. In fact, Tampa had several clear opportunities, with Stamkos missing two wide open shots and a final shot sailing just over the net. Crawford would finish the day saving 24 of 25 with a save percentage of .960.
Game four is scheduled for Saturday at 8:00 pm EST on NBC.
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