The way Steven Stamkos played in game one made me miss Jonathan Toews that much more. Stamkos was a leader who led the team with one goal and two assists. He won four faceoffs out of the five he took, and he constantly made the Lightning better on the ice.
Stamkos put five shots on the net during the first game. The Blackhawks need to limit his shots on goal and offensive opportunities tonight. Yes, that is a large task to ask of this team right now, but guess what? This is not training camp anymore.
The best way for the Blackhawks to limit Stamkos’s chances would be to control the puck more often. Chicago will have to do a better job of putting pucks in deep and controlling the edges when the Lightning are breaking out of their own zone, as offensive rushes are like bread and butter for the Lightning.
Stamkos’s goal tonight came on the power play. So tonight, hopefully, the Blackhawks can try and stay out of the penalty box, as power plays for the Lightning look to be in midseason form, aka automatic goals.
Shutting down Stamkos and playing physical when he tries to make a play might be the best thing the Blackhawks can do at this time to send a message that they are not going to roll over to this team as they did in game one. However, there is one other player the ‘Hawks need to beat to come away with the win.