In what was nothing short of amazing, the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to battle back late in the third period, take the game into overtime, and finally after a nail biting shootout, defeat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-2.
Saying that the game didn’t start out well for the Lightning is a bit of an understatement.
In fact, in the first twenty minutes of play, the Lightning didn’t manage to put a single shot on goal.
That’s right…not one.
In regards to Shots on Goal, things never really got better. In the second period, the Bolts were outshot 13-6, and 12-8 in the third. Ultimately, the Bolts would be outshot 39-16 by the end of the game.
I have always been a stern believer in the philosophy of quality over quantity; however, you have to shoot the puck at least a few times if you ever hope to find the back of the net.
Despite their lack of offense in the first period, the Bolts were able to keep the Hawks out of the back of the net, and keep the game scoreless through twenty.
However, it was early in the second where things went from bad to worse for the Bolts.
At just 59 seconds into the second period, Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane fired a wrist shot into the back of the net, bringing the score to 1-0 Hawks. Assists on the goal went to left wing Brian Bickell and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
The Bolts would be able to hold off the Hawks for another 9 minutes; however, at 9:14 while on a power play from a Hooking penalty to center Alex Killorn, Hawks left wing Brandon Saad would find his way between the pipes with the assists from defenseman Nick Leddy and goaltender Corey Crawford.
At the end of 40 minutes of play, the Hawks would lead the Bolts 2-0.
Many Bolts fans were steadying themselves to feel the sting of defeat, when just like that, about halfway through the third period, newly appointed captain Martin St. Louis got us back in the game as he sent the puck flying past Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford and putting the Bolts back into the game and making it a one-goal game.
Just under 2 minutes later, while the Bolts were on a Power Play thanks to a High Sticking call on Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, Lightning right wing Teddy Purcell was able to fire one in, tying the score at 2-2. The assists on that goal went to St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
Suddenly, the Bolts, players and fans alike, had new life.
The Lightning would be able to hold back the Hawks for the remainder of regulation and send this game into overtime.
Neither the Lightning nor the Hawks were able to seal this game up in the overtime period, so then we head to the shootout.
The Hawks certainly brought out their big guns for the shootout. Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop had to fight off three of the strongest players that the Blackhawks have in their arsenal; captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and right wing Marian Hossa, all three of which would be denied by Bishop.
For the Lightning, it is center Valtteri Filppula that was able to sink the first goal, which would ultimately be the game winner. Then it was Victor Hedman who hit the post with his shot. So close, but so far away.
Here is a look at the nail-biting shootout between the Bolts and the Hawks.
I am extremely proud of our boys in blue tonight. When faced with the pressure of heading into the Madhouse to face off with the defending Stanley Cup Champions, all the pressure was on the Lightning. When others thought that they were ready to buckle, the Bolts fought back, showing everyone that they are not ready to give up so easily.
Filppula has put on quite a show so far this season. He scored his first point with the Lightning on Thursday against the Bruins, and then scored during the shootout against the Hawks tonight lifting the Bolts to victory. If you ask me, I think Bolts fans can expect to see good things out of him this season. Does Steven Stamkos have some competition this season?
Three Stars of the Game:
Next up, our Tampa Bay Lightning will head into the First Niagara Center in Buffalo to go head-to-head with fellow Atlantic Division rival Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
What do you think of the Lightning’s performance tonight in Chicago? What things did they do right? What could they have done better? Let’s discuss this and more in the comments below.