Tonight the Tampa Bay Lightning looked to rebound following a season long three game losing skid. On the other bench the Chicago Blackhawks have struggled all season long to even be a .500 team. Curtis McElhinney and Corey Crawford are the goalies for this game tonight. It was Dominik Kubalik who would lead the comeback.
Currently heading into tonight’s game the Lightning have four guys over 50 points, and two more knocking on the door. Chicago only has Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews over the 50 point mark. And the Lightning will have to push on for at least one more night without their captain Steven Stamkos. The veteran center has be listed out for tonight with a unknown injury. The team would also be without Blake Coleman (birth of 1st child) and Pat Maroon for tonight’s game.
Kucherov is Movin on Up
Against the Toronto Maple Leafs Nikita Kucherov scored his 30th goal of the season. Now at this point it seems almost automatic the Kucherov will notch 30 goals every season. He makes it look so effortless when he scores. Something you may not have known is when he notched that 30th goal he tied a Lightning legend on a team record list. He tied Vincent Lecavalier for third most 30+ goals seasons. He’s one season behind Marty St Louis and current captain Steven Stamkos who are tied with six 30 goal seasons.
One down, no score
Through twenty minutes both teams headed to the first intermission unable to get one past the opposing goalie. Both teams had three opportunities on the power play, the Blackhawks ended the first with the man advantage, and will start the second with it as well. Chicago held the shots on goal advantage 10-8 with each team only really having a few legitimate shots. Curtis McElhinney and Corey Crawford played well enough to keep the other team off the board.
Goalie stalemate, ended by Point
It took over 15 minutes, and 11 shots, but the Lightning final got one past Crawford to get the boys in blue on the board 1-0. The Bolts had been all over Crawford in the middle period, but couldn’t get one past him. It clearly was a tale of two periods, period one the team look a little sluggish and lackadaisical with a number of mistakes that were made. The second period they looked much more dialed in and focused and it paid off. Brayden Point was able to notch the first goal of the game with Ondrej Palat and Kucherov both screening Crawford. Victor Hedman and Kucherov would get the assists on the goal. Tampa Bay took the shots on goal lead with a strong second period, out-shooting the Blackhawks 17-6.
Pointer strikes first. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/sC59UQsQlL
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 28, 2020
That didn’t take long for the Bolts, then Kubalik strikes
As a matter of a fact it only took 17 seconds. Kucherov got the insurance goal VERY early in the third. Point would notch his second point of the game on the assist off Kucherov’s goal. Since the first period ended this has looked like a totally different team. At 2:28 into the third period Luke Schenn got called for a “questionable” penalty, eight seconds after the power play ended Brandon Saad got the Blackhawks within one goal. The Bolts were still leading 2-1, until another “questionable” off-sides call that forced a defensive zone face-off for Chicago. Off that face-off the Blackhawks were able to get a shot on McElhinney and get it past him. Dominik Kubalik was credited with the goal that tied up the game 2-2. Both goals could’ve and should’ve been avoided, but McElhinney has played incredibly well throughout this game.
Just past the midway point, former Bolt Slater Koekkoek would put the Blackhawks up 3-2 with a shot from the point that slipped through the five hole of McElhinney. It would be Koekkoek’s first goal of the season in 35 games played. Kubalik would strike again against McElhinney. The Lightning looked like they were going to challenge for offsides, but they didn’t and the Blackhawks went up 4-2 off Kubalik’s second goal of the game. The Bolts would pull McElhinney hoping to generate some extra offense, but Kubalik was able to get an empty-netter for a 5-2 lead. It would string together 5 goals in the third period for Chicago.
3rd Star – Brandon Saad – 1g – 1 a, started the scoring avalanche in the third period
2nd Star – Corey Crawford – May have let in 2 goals, but kept the Blackhawks in this game long enough for their offense to get going.
1st Star – Dominik Kubalik – Hat trick including a empty net goal.
The Lightning welcome in the Calgary Flames on Leap day Saturday February 29th at 4pm
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