The Blackhawks went up against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a crucial game Wednesday night as they hoped to get their third straight win in a row.
Unfortunately, the night did not go as planned for them as the Lightning are a very unpredictable team, that scored three unanswered goals to end up winning the game in overtime. The Hawks went shorthanded not too long into OT after Nick Schmaltz was sent to the box for slashing at 3:10, and that’s when everything went downhill for them. Center Brayden Point scored the game winning power play goal 3:25.
While the Hawks may have lost, they played a solid game throughout most of Wednesday night, being 2-1 most of the first and second period, until the Lightning scored a goal to tie it during the third period. Patrick Kane scored both goals for the Hawks and Crawford had 35 saves. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves, with the two goals during regulation being scored by Ondrej Palat and Chris Kunitz, who tied it with 31 seconds left in the third period.
This isn’t the first game where Tampa has come back and defeated Chicago. In a January 24 game, they scored four third period goals against the Hawks to win 5-2. Then again in March, they were done 4-1 and came back to win 5-4. All this can mean one thing: The Lightning are exceptionally good in high pressure situations, and the Hawks will need to find a way to tire this young, fast paced team so they can’t keep coming back in the end.
Throughout the game though, both goalies displayed their skill level when being tested. Crawford had a huge glove save on Steven Stamkos’ power play breakaway which surely looked like it was going in. For the Lightning, Vasilevskiy made a save on Richard Panik’s shot which would’ve gave the Hawks a bit of lead way.
Although the Lightning won the game, they still have respect for the Hawks. “To be down 2-0 to a team as good as Chicago, it was a great bounce back performance” Captain Steven Stamkos said in a post-game interview. The Hawks faced the Lightning in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs in which the Hawks were able to win the series 4-2, winning their third Stanley Cup in just six years.
This season is a different story as the Lightning are having the best record in the NHL at 16-3-2. A team that started out successfully in the beginning of last season, but went 15-18-7 after losing Steven Stamkos to a season ending injury is setting the pace for the league this season.
Tampa Bay went 1 for 6 on the PP while the Hawks were 1 of 4.
The Hawks (10-8-3) are currently fifth place will have a three-day break before they go up against the Panthers (8-11-2) at 6 p.m. Saturday.