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Chicago strikes back, squeaks past Tampa in the shootout

Following a thrilling finish in overtime the night before, the Tampa Bay Lightning once again looked to slide past the Chicago Blackhawks in back-to-back nights.

For the Lightning, it would not be easy this time around. Malcolm Subban did a superb job to shut down the Lightning power play for the whole game. Alex DeBrincat’s explosiveness helped his team keep up with Tampa’s tempo and give him a couple of milestones.

Speedy beginning

The Lightning got the jets rolling to start the game and looked to score early. They would do just that thanks to Anthony Cirelli. Subban intitally saved the shot, but Cirelli followed up on the rebound and shot it past Subban. Lightning would keep the momentum going throughout the period and cash in on their first power play opportunity of the night. Victor Hedman fired a puck towards a net that would go in thanks to a perfectly timed tip-in from Alex Killorn. Minutes later Chicago answered back with a power play goal of their own. DeBrincat went top shelf on Curtis McElhinney to cut the Lightning lead to one. The goal was DeBrincat’s 100th career goal, and also his 200th career point.

Sloppy second period

Once again the Lightning showed no signs of slowing down to start the period. On the other hand, Chicago was determined to slow them down. Patrick Kane and DeBrincat teamed up to give the Hawks the much needed equalizer.  It looked like the Hawks stole the momentum in the game at this point, but the Lightning defense stood their ground. Despite some chances on the power play, the Lightning were unable to answer Subban and the period remained scoreless after the DeBrincat goal.

Trying to find answers

The Lightning penalty kill went to work fast, and nearly scored shorthanded like they did the other night. After a great shorthanded opportunity, Ryan McDonagh found Killorn’s rebound and ripped the puck past Subban to give the Bolts an early 3-2 lead in the third period. Unfortunately for the Lightning, the lead would not last and Chicago once again found an equalizer. Alexander Volkov was unable to locate the puck, and Dominik Kubalik made sure he paid for that with a game-tying goal. The power play was a major concern after only scoring on the first opportunity, and it would not get any better for Tampa from here on out. Overtime would once again be needed to decide the game’s outcome.

Back to the drawing board

In overtime, both teams would exchange great opportunities to win the game, but neither could capitalize on them. Tampa did get a power play with just about 2 minutes to go in the overtime, but just like for most of the game Subban acted like a brick wall and shut down the Lightning. The Blackhawks then picked up the extra point with a win in the shootout and defeated the Lightning 4-3. The power play was the Achilles heel for the Lightning tonight while stellar performances from DeBrincat and Subban gave the Hawks a hard-fought victory at home. The two teams will meet one last time this Sunday afternoon.

Three stars of the game

1st Star: Alex DeBrincat – Two goals

2nd Star: Alex Killorn – One goal and one assist

3rd Star: Malcolm Subban – Stopped 39 of 42 shots and all three shootout attempts

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