Tampa Bay Lightning Fall To Blackhawks In Overtime


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The Tampa Bay Lightning put up a good fight, but ultimately fall to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime in their first encounter since the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Tampa Bay Lightning held strong through regulation, but in their third game in a row that has headed to a 3-on-3 overtime, the Lightning fall to the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in their first encounter since the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Tampa Bay Lightning knew when they took the ice at the United Center this was not going to be just another game on the schedule. The Chicago Blackhawks are an offensively dominant team who has plenty of experience playing on the highest level in the National Hockey League.

Once the puck dropped, the Tampa Bay Lightning kicked things off by putting a decent amount of pressure on the Blackhawks defense. Kristers Gudlevskis, who hasn’t played a single game in the NHL this season, made a couple of key saves to keep the Blackhawks off the board early on. As most of you know by now, Gudlevskis was recalled from the Syracuse Crunch last night in order to give Ben Bishop a night off after starting in the first eight games of the season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning would get two opportunities with the man-advantage during the first period, but unfortunately the Bolts’ Power Play squad would come up empty on both attempts. This is not to say they didn’t make the most of their opportunity, but they simply couldn’t pull the trigger. This has a lot to do with Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford. Tonight’s game quickly turned into a repeat of last night where the Bolts had to work hard for every single point.

As the horn sounded to end the first period, Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette would trade blows with Blackhawks defenseman Viktor Svedberg right in front of the Hawks net. This seems to be becoming a trend with the scrappy Lightning center. On the bright side, neither team received a penalty for the tussle.

The Tampa Bay Lightning would get another shot at the Power Play in the early moments of the second period, as Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad would head to the box for two minutes for Interference against Lightning right wing Erik Condra. Unfortunately, much like the first two attempts on the Power Play, the Lightning were unable to pull the trigger.

The Chicago Blackhawks really kicked up the offensive pressure in front of the Lightning net in the second period. Thankfully, at least up until this point in the game, the Lightning defense combined with the speed and skill of goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis, the Lightning has held strong.

As the Lightning entered the back half of the second period, they would spend a lot of time in their offensive zone. Unfortunately, their passing seemed rather sloppy and the Blackhawks had plenty of opportunities to take the puck and send it flying back into their zone. The good news is, they Blackhawks weren’t able to break up the Lightning’s defense.

Just before the horn sounded to end the second period of play, Blackhawks right wing Andrew Shaw would be called to the penalty box after interfering with Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. Hedman was a little slow to get up on the play, but didn’t require any immediate attention.

As you can imagine, the Lightning started out the period on the Power Play. Unfortunately, the Lightning’s Power play unit would fail to convert on their fourth opportunity of the night with the man advantage. We are finding it hard to believe the Lightning’s Power Play squad is having this much difficulty. If you take a look at all the talent the Lightning has at their disposal, it almost seems as if this is one really intense bad dream.

Speaking of bad dreams, the Tampa Bay Lightning would hold strong through the end of regulation and with the sound of the horn would be sent to their third straight 3-on-3 overtime period. Much like the Tampa Bay Lightning did last night against the Winnipeg Jets, the Chicago Blackhawks would steal the win out from under the Lightning with a goal from captain Jonathan Toews just 17 seconds into the overtime period.

While this is certainly a bitter loss for the Tampa Bay Lightning to swallow, this is certainly not the worst outcome they could have hoped for. Since kicking off their four-game road trip on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators, the Tampa Bay Lightning has been able to bring home four out of a potential six points. Sure, this isn’t ideal, but it’s not all gloom and doom either.

There are a couple of things the Tampa Bay Lightning need to work on before they head to the Scottrade Center to face off with the St. Louis Blues in the final game of their Western Conference road trip. The first of those is offensive pressure. We will give the Bolts the benefit of the doubt that they were tired heading into Chicago after playing last night in Winnipeg, but only coming home with 21 shots on goal is a little light.

As you can imagine, the other thing they need to work on is their special teams. Yes, we know we sound like a broken record bringing this subject up over and over again, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The Tampa Bay Lightning had four opportunities tonight with the man advantage, and they were not able to capitalize on a single one of them. Granted, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had a lot to do with that in tonight’s encounter, but in the greater scheme of things, this is something that will become a grand hindrance for the Lightning down the road.

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Gudlevskis got quite the workout tonight in Chicago. The young Latvian goaltender blocked 31 of 32 shots against him tonight, holding strong through regulation. While Gudlevskis may not have brought home the win for the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, he certainly put up a solid performance; especially stopping Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane on multiple breakaways.

Judging by Gudlevskis’ performance in tonight’s encounter, if Ben Bishop needs a little more time to get back to 100 percent, we wouldn’t mind seeing Gudlevskis in net on Tuesday night.

As we said before, tonight’s loss to the Blackhawks was definitely a tough pill to swallow, but the Lightning still have another opportunity to finish off this road trip on a high note. On Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning will head to the Scottrade Center to face off with captain David Backes and the St. Louis Blues. This is going to be no easy challenge for the Bolts, but after having a few days to rest, we think they will be up to the challenge.

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