After the break between the Conference Final round, the Stanley Cup Final was FINALLY upon us. The final was featuring the Eastern Conference Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are the more experienced team, reaching their third final in six seasons. This is the first appearance for the Lightning since 2003-04.
The game started with a flurry of action. The Chicago Blackhawks were blitzkrieg by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period. The Blackhawks are a fast team but the Lightning looked like Flashes flying past them. The Lightning peppered Corey Crawford with shot after shot in the first period. The Lightning put 10 shots on Crawford in the first period. Only one lucky shot was able to sneak by Crawford. Alex Killhorn deflected a Anton Stalman shot to put the Lightning up 1-0. If Killhorn attempted that deflection 10 times in a row, he might never do it again. It was that crazy.
After the first period, the Blackhawks started to settle in. The Blackhawks mustered six shots to the Lightning eight. The Blackhawks had two power play attempts and were blanked by the Lightning. For the game the Blackhawks went o-3 on the power-play and 2-2 on the penalty kill.
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After two period the Lightning made a fatal mistake, they took their foot off the gas pedal and went into a defensive mode. They went into a prevent defense. As the saying goes prevent defenses, prevent you from winning. The Lightning had several golden chances in the third period to put the game out of reach but were foiled by Crawford. At 13:28 Teuvo Teravainen tied the game with a goal. That was the third goal of the playoffs for Teravainen. He was assisted by Andrew Shaw and non other than Duncan Keith. Teravainen would not be done on the scoring sheet. Less than two minutes later, Teravainen made a nice play on the forecheck and found Antoine Vermette. Vermette buried the puck to put the Blackhawks up 2-1. Crawford and the Blackhawks would survive several other rushes. The Blackhawks would hold on to win 2-1.
The Lightning might be kicking themselves after this game. The winner of Game 1 in the Stanley Cup Finals since the series went to seven games, win the series 77 percent of the time. With this victory, the Blackhawks have stolen home ice advantage away from the Lightning.
It cannot be stressed enough how well Crawford played in this game. Crawford faced 23 shots and made 22 saves. Crawford is the difference
NEWS and NOTES:
- Bryan Bickell was a scratch due to an upper body injury. Kris Versteeg replaced Bickell in the lineup. He seemed to play well and had two shot on net in 9:32 of ice time.
- Duncan Keith played 29:15 in this game. He lead all players in ice time.
- This is the first loss for the Lighting in the playoffs when scoring first and when leading in the third period.
The Series will resume on Saturday at 7:00pm central time.
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