TAMPA, Fla. — The Blackhawks felt they got away with one in Game 1, needing two goals within two minutes late in the third period to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.
They said they wanted to be better in Game 2 and for awhile, it looked like they were. And while the Blackhawks were contributing more on offense, the Lightning were taking more at the other end.
Brent Seabrook scored his seventh goal of the postseason but Jason Garrison scored the game-winning power-play goal about five minutes later as the Lightning beat the Blackhawks, 4-3, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. The series is tied 1-1 heading to Chicago, where the Blackhawks will host Game 3 on Monday and Game 4 on Wednesday.
Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 24 shots in a performance coach Joel Quenneville said was “just OK.”
As opposed to Game 1, in which neither team had many great scoring opportunities, Game 2 was more open, more offensive-minded and came with a few surprises. The biggest shocker came in the third period when Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop exited the game twice, first briefly and the second time for the rest of the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped five shots in relief. Coach Jon Cooper would not discuss what happened to Bishop or the goaltender’s status going forward.
The third period began with an expected change, when Quenneville split Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, putting Kane back on the second line with Brad Richards and Kris Versteeg and Marian Hossa back on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad. The Lightning had held Toews and Kane in check for five periods.
“They’re working hard, they’re playing good hockey, playing smart, defensive hockey,” Toews said of Tampa’s defense. “We just got to stay with it. I think Saad had a great chance 2-on-1 early in the game, I had a great chance where it bounced right off my stick — great set-up by Kaner — so one of those go in, maybe you’re not sitting here asking those questions as much.”
Quenneville said the Toews/Kane dismantling was more for balance.
“They had some great looks there, a couple really good quality chances in the first period, good stuff in the second. They were dangerous,” Quenneville said. “But got more balance off [the change]. We scored right away, then lost the momentum.”
The right-away score came from Seabrook, who tied the game 3-3 at the time. The momentum loss came about five minutes later when the Blackhawks were trying to kill off the Lightning’s second consecutive power play. The Lightning went on the advantage on back-to-back Patrick Sharp infractions, and Garrison got the winning goal on the second one.
“It was something I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, but it happened. Move on from it,” Sharp said. “I take responsibility and I apologized to our penalty-killers for putting them under such stress.”
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Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen (power play) scored for the Blackhawks, who took a 2-1 lead on those two second-period goals before the Lightning came back with two of their own. Tyler Johnson scored his 13th goal of the postseason, a new Lightning franchise record, his shot sneaking through Crawford’s stick side.
“I definitely don’t want to give that up,” Crawford said. “He kind of fanned on his backhand, it hit the side of the net. I don’t know how it bounced up. I kind of lost it from there. But I felt something on my back. You can’t give those up in these games — two goals we just gave them and gave them the momentum back.”
The Blackhawks didn’t create much in Game 1 but they also didn’t give up much, either. In Game 2 they did both, but too much of the latter against a young, opportunistic team willing to take. Still, they split on the road and head back to the United Center, where they’ve lost once this postseason.
“Let’s keep it in perspective: it’s a good team,” Toews said. “To go home tied 1-all I don’t think is something we’re satisfied with considering the position we were in coming into tonight. [But] we’ve got to be excited, definitely, going back to our building.’’