Game One, Chicago v. Tampa Bay
Game one of the NHL Stanley Cup finals from Tampa, Bay Florida between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks showed that hockey fans are in for one hard fought series.
The Tampa Bay Lightning came into the first period of game one of the Stanley Cup finals swinging against Chicago, but sadly forgot the fight to win Lord Stanley’s Cup is not just a fight of one period. The Bolts attacked the net repeatedly ensuring Chicago’s Goalie Corey Crawford was awake from the start.
The Lightning’s attack would pay off as Alex Killorn would put the Lightning up in the first period with an amazing goal. After teammate Anton Stralman’s shot went wide of the goal, the puck went just to the side of Alex Killorn.
Killorn, who was standing in front of the net with his back to the goal, maneuvered his body slightly to the side enabling him to bat the puck out of midair into the goal. This was truly one of the most beautiful goals of the season, let alone the Stanley Cup finals.
Sadly, that would be all the excitement in store for the Bolts in terms of goal scoring.
In the second period, Tampa Bay kept up the pressure while Chicago finally started to come alive, making more plays and taking more shots. The second period would be a show for each of the respected goalies of the series as no goals would be scored against either player.
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford regained his composure making immaculate saves on breakaway opportunities as Lightning goalie Ben Bishop continued his shutout streak through the second period continuing to make game changing glove saves from shots by leading goal scorers such as Patrick Kane.
By the third period it was clear that Chicago would just not quit. Despite not being on the scoreboard, Chicago did not let the pressure get to them. Rather, the Blackhawks took a page from the Lightning’s playbook of the first period: Attack and attack repeatedly.
With just under seven minutes left in the game, a slap shot by Teuvo Teravainen tied the game at 1-1 in the third period.
The shot by Teravainen was a good shot that went top left, but he definitely had some assistance from teammate Marcus Kruger who was able to screen Ben Bishop and prevent him from seeing the tying shot.
The Blackhawks would not let Tampa Bay even have a chance to recover after scoring. Less than three minutes later, the Lightning’s J.T. Brown skated the puck in front of his net, but had the puck checked out of his hands by Chicago’s Teuvo Teravainen whose check put the puck right on the stick of his teammate Antoine Vermette. Vermette immediately took the opportunity as he put the puck right past goalie Ben Bishop’s glove side on a perfectly placed top right shot to seal the win.
The postgame atmosphere in Tampa Bay’s locker room had to be grim. The Lightning had the tools to win but ended by giving game one away to Chicago. All of Chicago’s goals came in the last seven minutes of the game.
While Tampa Bay had done so well in attacking from the start of the first period and getting an early lead, the lead never extended and they grew complacent thinking that by some ounce of sheer luck, their one goal may just hold until the end of the game.
This mentality allowed the Blackhawks to tie the game late in the third period and once the game was tied, it was over.
It will be interesting to see how Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning respond. If the Lightning can play the entire game like the first period, the team is definitely capable of beating Chicago. Tampa Bay’s Bishop has limited playoff experience, and losing a lead in game one of the Stanley Cup finals will either prove to make or break the young goalie.
With only one game remaining in Florida before traveling to Chicago for game three, it is extremely important for the Lightning to come away with at least one win in their first two home games of the series.
The Stanley Cup finals continue with game two live from Tampa Bay, Florida this Saturday, June 6th at 7:15 PM Eastern Time.
See the four games: