Lightning end Blackhawks' remarkable streak

Lightning end Blackhawks' remarkable streak

The Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups in the last seven seasons for a handful of reasons.

One of them has been their resiliency, no matter what the score is and when. Another is their ability to shut the door late in games when owning a lead.

The Tampa Bay Lightning know this better than anyone, a year and a half removed from falling in six games to the Blackhawks in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

Entering Tuesday, the Blackhawks were 78-0-5 when leading after two periods since the start of the 2014-15 season.

That streak of having not lost in regulation during those games came to an end when the Lightning scored four goals in the third period to take home a 5-2 victory at the United Center, a streak that even Tampa Bay couldn't help but be amazed at.

"It just shows what kind of team they are and how good they are with the lead, and how they play when they have the lead," said Lightning forward Alex Killorn, who assisted on two of the four third-period goals. "I think we did a great job coming back in. It's a pretty cool stat when you put it that way."

After taking a 2-1 lead into the third period, Nikita Nesterov lit the lamp 2:47 into the final frame to tie it up at 2-2. 

No problem. The Blackhawks have been here before, and have consistently found ways to retake the lead and extend their streak that snapped at 83 games. They did it as recently as Sunday, when they squandered a 2-0 lead to Vancouver but pulled away in the end for a 4-2 victory.

And it was also still early enough where they could brush it off and regroup.

The Lightning didn't give them time to, though.

Tyler Johnson found the back of the net twice within 30 seconds of each other shortly after, and before they knew it, the Blackhawks had given up a trio of even-strength goals before the first TV timeout.

“They get a big shot right off the goal, right off the faceoff," Joel Quenneville said. "Then they score. Didn’t look dangerous. Then they score two quick goals and now we’re behind against a dangerous team. We did some good things around the net tonight, we had a lot of scoring chances. Didn’t have the finish.” 

Nikita Kucherov iced the game when he buried home the empty-netter, leaving the Blackhawks left empty-handed.

"Yeah, that hasn't happened a whole lot," Patrick Kane said of the Blackhawks' streak. "Even if we give up that lead, we're finding ways to win those games. It was 2-1, you're in a good spot and you give up two quick ones, and all of a sudden you're chasing the game. A little disappointing.

"Going into the third, we wanted to control the puck, make sure we're making good plays. (Nesterov) made a good shot off the faceoff, a couple nice rush plays for them. But no excuse. Going into the third, we want to win those games with the lead, especially at home."

It was the Blackhawks' first regulation loss in the regular season when leading after two periods since April 12, 2014 vs. Nashville when they entered the third with a 3-2 lead but lost 7-5. That's almost three years.

Despite it being a remarkable run — and bound to end at some point — the Blackhawks know they let one get away, and won't settle for anything less than coming away with at least a point in games they hold a lead after 40 minutes going forward.

"We can't be letting games like that slip away," said Jonathan Toews, who had one goal and an assist in the loss. "I think the talk for a long time has been starting games a little bit better. I think we've been seeing that.

"Obviously if we're in the right spot, we're in the driver's seat going into the third periods with a lead, whether it's one goal or more than that, we've got to find ways to play better. I think a team like that, especially with their speed, they're going to come hard and the finish wasn't there tonight."

SportingNews Top 50 NHL Prospects lists Boqvist at 10 and Kirby Dach at 13

USA Today

SportingNews Top 50 NHL Prospects lists Boqvist at 10 and Kirby Dach at 13

NHL draft analyst Steve Kournianos released his list for Top 50 players in NHL pipelines for the upcoming 2019-20 season. To the delight of Blackhawks fans everywhere, Adam Boqvist and Kirby Dach were ranked at number 10 and 13 respectively.

Kournianos described 19-year-old defender Boqvist as a dominant rookie with 40 assists and 20 goals during his tenure with the London Knights. Fans speculate whether the Blackhawks will keep Boqvist on his junior squad for another year or pull him up to play with the American Hockey League Rockford Ice Hogs.

Kournianos said Dach was one of Team Canada’s top players at the World Junior Summer Showcase. The 18-year-old center is sure to be one of Canada’s main forwards during World Juniors and Dach has the flexibility to play anywhere in the Blackhawks lineup. Dach’s entry-level contract allows him up to nine NHL games this season, giving him the chance to return to the AHL or NHL after his junior season in the Western Hockey League is finished.

Both Boqvist and Dach are key player for the future of this team and it will interesting to watch the Hawks develop these younger players.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle catches up with Senior VP of Hockey Operations, Al MacIsaac. They discuss the process the Blackhawks took in transforming the roster this off-season. MacIsaac is entering his 20th year with the Blackhawks and talks about the organizational changes over the last two decades. He also weighs in on the role analytics plays in evaluating current or potential Blackhawks and he explains why the team made a commitment to make its new practice facility the “gold standard” of the NHL.

0:45 – MacIsaac on changes within the Blackhawks organization in the last 20 years

4:00 – How the Blackhawks have added great depth this summer

5:25 – A good problem to have with two good goaltenders

6:23 – How the hockey ops meeting went at the end of last season

8:45 – How much the Blackhawks use and rely on analytics

10:27 – The importance of the Blackhawks strength and conditioning programs

12:24 – The planning behind Fifth Third Arena’s development

14:40 – The dynamic between hockey ops and business ops

16:37 – Agreements and disagreements within the hockey ops group

18:32 – MacIsaac’s longtime relationship with Mark Bernard

20:27 – Looking ahead to training camp and the regular season

22:42 – Tough decisions will need to be made when the season starts

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Blackhawks Talk Podcast