As James O’Brien pointed out in his last Dose, effectively titled, “Failed Prevention,” Jon Cooper and the Lightning didn’t stay aggressive in the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Sitting back against a team as good as the Blackhawks is never a good idea, especially with a one-goal lead. Chicago licks its chops in those situations.
So while the third period in Game 2 was not perfect -- it was aided by two penalties from Patrick Sharp -- there was at least some progress.
LIGHTNING 4, BLACKHAWKS 3
— The Stanley Cup Final has now turned to a best-of-five series. With the state of goaltending here (more on that later), it still wouldn’t surprise me to see this one go the duration.
— A noticeable change for the Lightning from Game 1 to Game 2? It was not that Tampa Bay ratcheted up the offense once it went up 4-3 at 8:49 of the frame after a Jason Garrison power-play goal. In fact, it was the opposite. The Lightning did a better job of limiting offensive chances. At even strength in the third, they allowed the 10 shot attempts (six on goal) from the Blackhawks, while they had two (one on goal). In all, the Blackhawks had a 10-2 shot advantage. Not good, but certainly could’ve been much worse considering how Game 1 went. In Game 1, Chicago had 20 even-strength shot attempts in the third period. That third period clearly favored Chicago. So that's progress.
— The Lightning have now given up 11 high-danger scoring chances for (six in this game), while getting 18 of their own (eight in Game 2). They are doing a very good job -- 29 shots allowed in this game -- of not letting the Blackhawks into the dangerous areas. Will that last now that the series is headed to Chicago, and coach Joel Quenneville has last change? We'll see.
— Garrison’s points (goal, assist) were his first since Game 2 of the East final. His goal came on the second penalty in a row for Shaw. Garrison also had an assist on Nikita Kucherov’s goal in the second period. Kucherov also got an assist on Tyler Johnson’s goal minutes later.
— The Triplets Line, therefore, was back on the scoreboard after being quieted in Game 1. Even when they aren’t scoring, though, they’ve done a masterful job at territorial play, creating offense even if the goals aren’t there. Saturday, Johnson ended a drought of five games without a goal. He had three shots in this one.
— Game 2 featured four lead changes. Cedric Paquette scored the first goal of the game a little past midway through the first period. Even more notable because Paquette got heavy minutes against the Blackhawks’ top line of Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. He was a combined negative-five in shot-attempt differential against them, though. Not awful. It at least allows Cooper to deploy the scoring lines against more favorable matchups.
— The Blackhawks answered quickly in the second period, with goals from Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen. Shaw has points in four of his past five games, while Teravainen has goals in two consecutive, and three points in the Cup Final. Teravainen is going to be a very good player; I'm thinking 40 points in his first full season. He has great awareness and patience in the offensive zone, along with a quick release that is a bit like Kane’s.
— Four goals were scored in the second period, as Kucherov and Johnson scored to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead. Brent Seabrook scored his seventh goal of the playoffs to tie up the game in the third, on a goal that was rather controversial. Marian Hossa got his stick into the pad of Ben Bishop, which seemed to prevent him from kicking out his leg. The officials did not see a problem with it, however ... it looked like interference to me.
— Quite the strange second-half of the third period for Lightning netminders. Bishop (21 saves) randomly left the game for Andrei Vasilevskiy, and it was not performance-based. During that time, Garrison scored … and then Bishop returned. So Vasilevskiy (five saves) was credited with the win. Bishop came back again for a very short time, only to leave again. Vasilevskiy made a few key saves to preserve the win. Even stranger, Cooper would not address the goaltending situation, and Bishop did not talk to the media. Very weird, and certainly something to monitor leading up to Wednesday’s Game 3.
— If the Blackhawks end up winning the Stanley Cup, it will not be because of Corey Crawford (20 saves). The goal he allowed to Johnson was inexcusable. He didn’t seal off the post and Johnson beat him with a bad-angle shot. He has a 2.56 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in the playoffs.