According to the already established tradition between these two teams, having a multi-goal lead doesn’t mean anything. The Tampa Bay Lightning surged back in the second period, scoring four unanswered goals and taking a lead after trailing by three goals. The Chicago Blackhawks weren’t able to respond, and the Lightning extended their lead to 6-3, winning their second game in four days against the Blackhawks.
Andreas Borgman made his debut for Tampa Bay this season, as Jan Rutta remained out with an injury. Borgman will likely get another chance in the next few games since the Lightning again lost Erik Cernak, who wasn’t able to finish the game after sustaining an upper-body injury from a dangerous check from Conor Murphy.
A couple of Lightning players achieved personal milestones in this game. Yanni Gourde recorded four points (2G, 2A) today for the first time in his career and Pat Maroon scored his 100th career goal.
The first period started at a slower pace comparing to the previous games. Despite playing their third game in four days both teams took some time to adapt to each other. The Blackhawks controlled the puck more often during the first five minutes, while the Lightning had been more aggressive on the forecheck. The Lightning had just one shot on goal during that stretch until Cal Foote decided to test Kevin Lankinen with two heavy shots from blueline.
Ten minutes into the period the Blackhawks created the first real chance of the game: Mattias Janmark received the puck in front of the net, skated past Mikhail Sergachev toward Vasilevskiy, and made a pass to Philipp Kurashev. Sergachev managed to interrupt that pass while laying on the ice. Chicago’s pressure didn’t relent as they generated another chance in the same shift 20 seconds after the first one. This time, Carl Soderberg found Kurashev in front of the net who lifted a backhand shot past Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning tried to respond with some unusual line combinations but kept failing to generate any consistent pressure. First, Steven Stamkos almost connected on a pass to Victor Hedman, who skated through the slot towards the net but couldn’t handle the pass. Erik Cernak had another good chance after appearing alone in front of Kevin Lankinen but wasn’t ready to take a shot.
Fifteen minutes into the game Chicago got a chance to extend a lead when Pat Maroon was sent to the penalty box for tripping. The Blackhawks' power-play was deadly as they moved the puck quickly and forced the Lightning to scramble. Eventually, their pressure paid off as Patrick Kane fed Dominik Kubalik down low before Kubalik tipped the puck to Janmark, who redirected it past Vasilevskiy giving Chicago a 2-0 lead.
Statistically, the Blackhawks’ advantage wasn’t that big. They lead the Bolts in shot attempts (18 to 15) and had a slight advantage in expected goal share (50.38% xGF)
The second period didn’t start well for the Lightning. Hedman lost a puck battle against Brandon Hagel, which led to a shot almost sneaking through Vasilevskiy. Foote cleared the puck but was called for tripping shortly thereafter. The Blackhawks weren’t able to convert on that man advantage but scored right after it expired. Hedman lost another battle along the boards, Janmark retrieved the puck and found Pius Suter in front of the net, who made it 3-0 for Chicago.
From that moment onward, it was the Lightning who dictated the pace of the game. A few moments after Suter’s goal, Tampa Bay got their first power play of the game when Hagel was called for hooking. The power-play lasted only 11 seconds as Ondrej Palat rifled a shot from the top of the right circle providing the Lightning with some much-needed momentum.
Just a little over twenty seconds later, the Lightning cut the lead to one as Erik Cernak found Yanni Gourde who managed to bury his own rebound.
Three minutes later the Lightning returned to the power play. This time it was Ian Mitchell, who was called for hooking Stamkos. Tampa Bay managed to tie the game as a Victor Hedman shot found its way into Lankinen’s net. While Alex Killorn didn’t record an assist on either power-play goals, he played a big role in both of them, providing a screen in front, making it impossible for Lankinen to see the puck.
With ten minutes to go in the second period, Connor Murphy delivered a dangerous hit on Erik Cernak’s head, receiving a match penalty. Cernak left the game and the team later announced that he would not return. The ensuing five-minute power play failed to generate anything dangerous. The situation was made was as Hedman tripped Ryan Carpenter in an attempt to stop the Blackhawk from generating a shorthanded scoring chance.
The Bolts still weren’t done for this period though as Blake Coleman drew a penalty after for high sticking shortly thereafter. This power play proved to be far more effective as Sergachev fed Gourde at the top of the left circle and he made no mistake, scoring his second goal of the game and bringing the Lightning to the lead for the first time in the game.
The teams played just 7:55 minutes at 5-on-5 this period. The Lightning scored three times on power play just for the second time this season. In all situations the Lightning controlled 57.58% of shot attempts, led the opponent in high-danger scoring chances 7-3 and completely changed the course of the game
The last period wasn’t as much eventful as the previous one. The Lightning already provided themselves with a lead after a dominating second period and played according to the score on the panel.
The Blackhawks though had a chance to tie the game early in the period, when Carpenter outplayed Volkov alongside the boards and hit the post, but Vasilevskiy de-escalated the moment after covering the puck. Some time later the Lightning responded with Tyler Johnson setting up Blake Coleman with a rush, but a Lightning forward was stopped by Lankinen.
With five minutes to go Yanni Gourde received a Ryan McDonagh’s pass along the boards, skated from behind the net to the left circle and found Alex Killorn with a pass in the slot and he extended the Lightning lead to 5-3 with a wrist shot into the left corner of Lankinen’s net.
Late in the game, Duncan Keith was penalized for hooking, while trying to prevent a Pat Maroon’s breakaway. Maroon could have demanded a penalty shot here, but hasn’t left the game without a goal after scoring on a power play he created.
Despite trailing just one goal to the Lightning in the third period, the Blackhawks wasn’t ready to the last attempt to tie the game and allowed two more goals instead. The Lightning controlled both the shot attempts and the shot quality with a big margin in the last period.
The Lightning now fly to Detroit to play two games against the Red Wings on Tuesday and Thursday, 7:30pm ET starts for both.