When two teams are set to face each other in a playoff series, one of the first things a person will do is think back on the regular season matchups between those two teams as a form of preview. When it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, these look backs aren’t always the most accurate previews, but they often provide us hidden keys to what to expect. The Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning are set for the Stanley Cup Finals.
Since both teams play in opposite conferences, they only played against each other twice during the 2014-2015 regular season.
First Matchup: November 11th, 2014.
So long ago…
This one ended with the Hawks coming out on top, at home, in the shootout, by a score of 3-2. The Hawks’ win snapped Tampa’s 6-game winning streak. Hopefully, the Hawks will be able to cool off the Lightning when they get hot, during the finals, as well.
The Hawks held a 2-1 lead, late in the 3rd period until Nikita Kucherov was able to bury the tying goal to send the game into overtime. Yes, the Hawks were able to win the game via the shootout, but the win is almost totally irrelevant considering that there is no shootout in the playoffs.
What stands out and can be taken from this game going forward is the fact that the Hawks outshot the Lightning 19-6 in the 1st period and 12-7 in the 2nd. Tampa Bay would close the gap a bit in the 3rd, but the Hawks still outshot them 39-27 throughout 3 periods and a 5-minute overtime period.
While the lines and lineups will be a bit different now than they were back in November, the Hawks ability to dominate, possession-wise, a possession-dominant team is interesting. It is a bit concerning that Ben Bishop was able to stop 37 of the 39 shots that he faced.