The One Thing the Blackhawks were Missing Against the Lightning

Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Blackhawks gave Tampa Bay too many chances in the third to lose the game 3-2.

The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning due to their lazy play on the powerplay, leading to a short-handed goal against. They had all the momentum in the third period, only to lose control at the start of the third. They had great “killer instinct” vs Detroit, but the Lightning bullied them in the third.

Kevin Lankinen stopped a ton of grade-A scoring chances against, but the team couldn’t keep up with the Lightning’s third-period onslaught. Lankinen needs help from his team and, since the Blackhawks are a top team in the league, they have to learn how to close out games like one too. Lankinen did his best to secure two points, but the team in front of him took a break in the third period.

The Blackhawks did outplay the Lightning in the first forty minutes, forcing the Lightning to play their best hockey. They were annoying on the forecheck and the backcheck, forcing 15 giveaways and showed the league why they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Patrick Kane and Alex Debrincat, once again, contributed on the scoresheet and were very noticeable. Kane did leave Victor Hedman too much space in the final milliseconds of OT on the GWG, so that’s the only bad part I saw in that duo’s game.

The depth forced the Lightning to make many questionable passes just to relieve the pressure on their side. They made life hard for the Lightning, which is exactly what they were supposed to do. Ryan Carpenter and Brandon Hagel ended Andrei Vasilevskiy’s shutout streak short-handed following Hagel’s strong forecheck. Carpenter has an underrated shot, and he is putting it on full display for the league to see. The depth forwards were great this game, too.

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The defense actually played great for the first forty minutes, not skating out of position too much, and neither left the other out to dry. Adam Boqvist stopped a 3-1 chance on the powerplay by sprawling out to deny the passing lane. But, like the rest of the team, they took a break in the third to allow the Lightning to comeback with a 12 shot, 2 goal period.

OVERALL, the Blackhawks were amazing, forcing the Lightning to play their best hockey. Maybe the Lightning underestimated the Blackhawks, but they were by no means comfortable at any point in the first two periods and the end of the third.

The Blackhawks have the potential to defeat every team in the league, they just have to continue to play the same way and maintain that killer instinct that forced Detroit to cave in. And killer instinct is that one thing the Blackhawks need to have consistently to defeat the best, make the playoffs, and make a surprise run in the postseason.

They didn’t have that this game, and Lankinen had to go through a plethora of chances in the first ten minutes of the third period. Lank deserves more regulation wins, and the Blackhawks need to develop a consistent killer instinct to get him some.

Really, the Chicago Blackhawks shouldn’t feel too bad with this result as they were blown out by the Lightning twice at the start of the season. They also know what they did right and what they did wrong, so let’s see how they will respond in the second game of their three-game series.

The Blackhawks continue their three-game series tonight vs the Lightning at 7 PM.