Chicago Blackhawks Aren’t Being Outplayed By The Tampa Bay Lightning

By Colin Likas
2 of 3

Jun 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) battles for position with Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) in the first period in game three of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The lesson is that sometimes the scoreboard lies about which team is better, or about how close a series really is. In the third game, both teams had six skaters above zero in Corsi differential for all situations. That doesn’t sound like a one-sided game. In Game 2, the ’Hawks had nine skaters above zero in possession to the Bolts’ seven. In the opener, it was 13-5 Chicago despite Tampa’s first-period barrage. Just because the series scoreboard says 2-1 doesn’t mean the Bolts are blasting the ’Hawks.

One reason some fans might visualize Tampa skating circles around the ’Hawks is, the Bolts are equally as quick up and down their lineup. Chicago fans aren’t used to seeing a lot of teams that can keep up with their squad in a track-meet-type of game. But the Bolts can do it. If anything, this is another display of how even this series is on many fronts, not an indication that Tampa is dominating Chicago.

Another reason could be because Tampa has had more, for lack of a better phrase, scary looking offensive possessions than Chicago. War on Ice tallied 33 high-danger scoring chances for the Bolts in the first three games to the ’Hawks’ 24. But this still isn’t a great sounding board for arguing Tampa is playing better than Chicago. You would certainly classify Vermette’s previously discussed breakaway as a high-danger scoring chance for the ’Hawks. Would you classify Ryan Callahan’s Game 3 goal the same way? Probably not. On top of that, the differential between the teams in this statistic is heavily skewed by a 12-6 Tampa edge in Game 1 — the game Chicago won.

So, if the ’Hawks get some puck luck and strong focus throughout the remaining games, the results should turn in their favor. Because they really aren’t playing poorly, and they have the stats to back it up.