Jun 6, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defensemanBrent Seabrook
(7) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third period in game two of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks ultimate goal was to steal 2 games in Tampa Bay. That didn’t happen, but at least they were able to get half way there with a win in Game 1 by a score of 2-1. Game 2 didn’t work out as well; the Hawks came out on the losing end of a 4-3 battle. So the series is tied at 1-1, and now the action goes back to the United Center for Games 3 and 4. Let’s take a look at what we learned so far about this Chicago/Tampa Bay matchup.
Toews and Kane were held in check. The Tampa Bay Lightning did a really good job of suppressing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on their home ice. The first game was a little tighter game than the second, with Tampa Bay holding Chicago to only 21 shots on goal. The top line of Saad/Toews/Kane combined for only 6 shots on goal, with Kane having 3 shots, Saad 2, and Toews getting only 1 shot on goal.
In Game 2, things got even worse for this line. While Toews had 3 shots, Saad only had 2, and Kaner didn’t record a single shot on goal!
Coach Q changed things up in the third period in order to try to get some offense going. He put Kane back on the second line with Brad Richards and Kris Versteeg. Hossa moved back up to the first line with Brandon Saad and Toews. This way the Lightning would be forced to protect 2 huge scoring threats on two separate lines.
It did work out when Toews was able to feed Seabrook for a goal. But it ended up being too little too late. The Blackhawks got into penalty trouble (Patrick Sharp with 2 in a row), and the Lightning scored on the second of those power plays. Tampa went into full prevent mode, and the Hawks were not able to get the equalizer.
Back on home ice at the United Center, Coach Q will have last change and be able to dictate the matchups. It will be interesting to see if he keeps the nuclear option (Toews and Kane) together or keeps them apart. Either way, I expect these two to come out hungry and generate more offense on their home ice.
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