Well, the Blackhawks have a fight on their hands now, don’t they?
The Blackhawks liked a lot of what they did on Monday night. But it was the little mistakes and the inability to hold a lead for very long that proved costly. And now the Blackhawks are looking at a deficit, as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat them 3-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Will they rebound in Game 4? We’ll find that out in less than 48 hours. For now, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to Tampa Bay.
1. Giving up the lead too quickly. Ten times this postseason, the Blackhawks have given up a goal within two minutes of their scoring one. It happened again on Monday, with Ondrej Palat scoring just 13 seconds after Brandon Saad had given the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. It’s unacceptable, it’s costly and it’s unlike the Blackhawks in postseasons past. Said Corey Crawford, “After you grab momentum after a goal, you want to build on that. Giving up a goal after that is not what we want.”
2. Ben Bishop comes through. It didn’t look like Bishop would make it past the first period. But he withstood what the Blackhawks threw at him that period, giving up just one goal on the 19 shots they had. Bishop stopped 36 of 38 shots. Coach Jon Cooper wasn’t surprised. “We're not going to put anybody in a game that is going to be in harm's way of hurting himself. We talked long and hard if he could play tonight. There wasn't a doubt in his eyes.”
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3. Is Johnny Oduya OK? Oduya left the game in the second period, not long after Victor Hedman tripped him up. He returned in the third period but didn’t play a lot. Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Oduya feels on Tuesday. If the Blackhawks lose him, they’ll be in big trouble.
4. Missed chances in the first. Oh, the Blackhawks had some glorious opportunities and they definitely had the Lightning and Bishop on the robes. Marian Hossa looked skyward after missing a gaping net – he was tripped up on the play. Teuvo Teravainen missed just wide on another open net. “That was too bad, because we created so much pressure, so many shots,” Hossa said of the first. “I think we missed two empty-netters, so definitely that hurts a little bit.”
5. Road warriors. Give credit to the Lightning: they’ve found ways to win away from home this postseason. The Lightning are now 8-3 on the road, their last loss coming in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final (at the New York Rangers). The Lightning are taking advantage of chances and getting great goaltending from Bishop. The Blackhawks will need to figure out how to stop Tampa Bay’s road prowess on Wednesday.