To start the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning dominated the Chicago Blackhawks twice. They scored ten goals in the process. Thursday night in the Windy City, however, the Bolts would face a much-improved Chicago bunch.
At the beginning of the year, the Blackhawks were projected to be a bottom-five team in the NHL. As of Thursday, twenty squads have less points than the Hawks. They’d won seven of their last ten entering action, and were a confident, fast-paced group as the Lightning looked to win six in a row.
It’s safe to say Andrei Vasilevskiy was entering the game on a hot-streak. He was coming off three consecutive shutouts, and was just minutes away from having the longest shutout streak in Tampa Bay history. He fended off the Hawks in the early goings, extending his mark to 220:45 and counting after a frame and becoming the first goalie in franchise history to do so.
The opening period was a well-played, even period. Brayden Point had a chance for an open one-timer early on, but couldn’t connect. Alex DeBrincat had a chance of his own on the rush with Patrick Kane, but he also was unable to connect.
The league’s best power play in Chicago’s had the only man-advantage opportunity of the period, but Tampa Bay did a nice job denying entry, killing off the game”s first power play to close out the frame.
Hawks with a surge to start second
Right off the hop in this period, the Hawks were quick on the rush and creating chances. Eventually, a penalty was called giving the Bolts what they thought was a reprieve in a power play.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s in the net
Shorthanded, Chicago was able to burst down the ice and get a scoring chance. Brandon Hagel put a puck on net and it wound up flying high into the air. Not long after the puck resurfaced, it was in the back of the Lightning net, wired home by Ryan Carpenter.
Continuing to dominate
After the goal, the rest of the period continued much like the beginning of it, with the Hawks all over the Lightning. They were able to get to high-danger areas of the ice and eventually extend their lead to 2-0. Kane drifted out from the wall and across the point and fired. It was deflected home by Alex DeBrincat to make it 2-0 Chicago.
The Hawks closed out the period continuing to tilt the ice and rack up the shots, holding a 26-17 edge after two, and a 2-0 lead.
The Bolts came out fast and furious in the third period. Just like the Hawks, they were able to strike shorthanded on a penalty that had carried over from the second. Anthony Cirelli got the redirect on a Jan Rutta blast to get the Lightning on the board.
Next, it was a beautiful toe-drag from Steven Stamkos on Kane and an unreal finish. Just like that Tampa Bay had tied the game just 2:55 into the final period.
From there on in, it was clear neither team wanted to make a fatal error that would cost them the game. It was simple hockey, pucks in deep and limiting turnovers forced overtime.
Before overtime was over, both teams had some excellent looks, each of them finding the pipe. DeBrincat and Sergachev each found iron on glorious opportunities and each squad had secondary looks, but nobody could find a home. That is until there was barely any time to do so.
Victor Hedman would end the game with no time to spare. He circled back at the point and wired it with what felt like no time left, but there was just enough. The puck found the back of the net on the drive from the point with a tenth of a second on the clock. After video review, it was confirmed that the Bolts had capped off a third period comeback with a win in the most dramaticc of fashions.
Our three stars of the game
- Patrick Kane: Kane was electric all night long and created a Chicago goal.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy: There were periods in this game where the Hawks were really leaning on the Lightning and getting excellent scoring chances. Vasilevskiy was solid in holding them off.
- Victor Hedman: A tenth of a second left. Enough said.
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