Stanley Cup Final Game Two: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Stanley Cup Final Game #2
#3 Chicago Blackhawks vs #2 Tampa Bay Lightning
Blackhawks lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Saturday, June 6, 2015, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Amalie Arena – Tampa Bay, Florida
Opening Line: Tampa Bay -130 / Chicago +110
Current Line: Tampa Bay -130 / Chicago +110
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: over 5 -140 / under 5 +120

Tampa Bay looks to even the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night.
Tampa Bay looks to even the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night.

For most of the game, the Tampa Bay Lightning held a precarious 1-0 lead in game one of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. However, the veteran Blackhawks scored two goals in a two minute stretch in the third period to steal game one on the road. Now, the teams play game two Saturday night in Tampa before the series shifts to Chicago for the next two games.

Chicago, coached by Joel Quenneville, finished third in the Central Division with a 48-28-6 record and 102 points. The Blackhawks beat the #2 seed Nashville Predators in six games in the first round, and swept the wild card Minnesota Wild in four games in the conference semifinals. The Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks in seven games in the Western Conference Finals, including a game seven win on the road. Chicago is looking for the sixth Stanley Cup in franchise history, and their third since 2010.

Tampa Bay, coached by Jon Cooper, finished second in the Atlantic Division with a 50-24-8 record and 108 points, two points behind the Montreal Canadiens. The Lightning beat the #3 seed Detroit Red Wings in seven games in the first round, despite trailing 3-2 in the series. Tampa Bay took a 3-0 series lead against the Canadiens in the second round, but ended up winning the series in six games. The Lightning beat the New York rangers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, including a game seven win on the road. Tampa Bay  returns to the Stanley Cup Final for only the second time in franchise history after winning the Cup in 2004.

Tampa Bay came out fired up in front of a frenzied home crowd. The Lightning scored less than 5 minutes into the game on a goal from Alex Killorn, assisted by Anton Stralman and Valtteri Filppula. Neither team would score again until Chicago left wing Teuvo Teravainen tied it up with 6:30 left in the third, assisted by Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw. The 20 year old Finnish player would later say after the game that his first thought when scoring was “Oh no, now I have to go do media.” Antoine Vermette would score two minutes later for the Blackhawks in what proved to be the game winner, assisted by Teravainen. The winner of game one has gone on to win the Cup 58 of 75 times since 1939, including the last 3 seasons.

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 22 saves on 23 shots faced. Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 21 shots on goal. Both teams were a combined 0/5 on the power play. Tampa Bay had 29 hits to 21 for Chicago. The Lightning had 17 turnovers to 16 for the Blackhawks. Tampa won 30 faceoffs to 27 for Chicago.

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Chicago is outscoring teams 3.22-2.83. The Blackhawks are 10/54 (18.5%) on the power play and 39/51 (76.5%) on the penalty kill. Chicago has 3 short handed goals and hasn’t allowed any. The Blackhawks average 32 shots per game and opponents average 36.2 per game.

Chicago has used 2 goalies in the playoffs. Corey Crawford struggled against Nashville in the first round and was benched in favor of Scott Darling for four games in that series. Darling struggled too, and Crawford has started every game since. Crawford is 10-4 in the playoffs with 2.46 GAA. He has a save percentage of .921 with one shutout. Darling is 3-1 with a 2.22 GAA. He has a save percentage of .936.

Patrick Kane has 10 goals and 10 assists. Jonathan Toews has 9 goals and 9 assists. Duncan Keith has 2 goals and 17 assists. Marian Hossa has 4 goals and 9 assists. Patrick Sharp has 4 goals and 8 assists.  Brad Richards has 2 goals and 9 assists. Brent Seabrook has 6 goals and 4 assists. Andrew Shaw has 4 goals and 6 assists.  Teravainen and Brandon Saad have 8 points in the playoffs. Left wing Brian Bickell is questionable with a concussion. Defensman Trevor Van Riemsdyk is questionable with a wrist injury.  Defenseman Michal Rozival is out for the season with an ankle injury. Chicago relied on only four defensemen in the series against Anaheim and the injury to Van Riemsdyk certainly doesn’t help the depth on an already thin unit.

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Tampa Bay is outscoring teams 2.67-2.43 in the playoffs this season. The Lightning are 16/74 (21.6%) on the power play in the playoffs and 59/72 (81.9%) on the penalty kill. Tampa Bay has been on special teams far more than any team in the playoffs, both on the power play and penalty kill. The Lightning have 3 short handed goals and have allowed 2. Tampa Bay averages 28.2 shots per game and opponents average 27.7.

Goalie Ben Bishop is 12-9 in the playoffs with a 2.14 goals against average. He has a save percentage of .919 with three shutouts. Bishop has been benched twice in the playoffs in favor of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Against New York, Bishop struggled badly at home giving up 15 goals in three games, but was dominant on the road allowing just four goals in four games with two shutouts in the last two games at MSG.

Center Tyler Johnson has 12 goals and 9 assists. Nikita Kucherov has 9 goals and 10 assists. Steven Stamkos has 7 goals and 10 assists. Alex Killorn has 8 goals and 9 assists. Ondrej Palat has 7 goals and 8 assists. Victor Hedman has a goal and 9 assists in the playoffs. Valtteri Filppula has 3 goals and 9 assists. The line of Johnson, Kucherov and Palat is nicknamed the Triplets, and has accounted for most of the scoring in the playoffs, even though they are the second line.

Chicago is 4-0 in Stanley Cup final games, 4-1 after allowing 2 goals or less, against Atlantic teams, against teams with winning records, overall and on 2 days rest, 5-2 in road games and against Eastern Conference teams, and 37-18 after scoring two goals or less. The under is 4-1 in this series recently.

Tampa Bay is 6-1 on two days rest, 37-15 at home, and 2-6 against Central Division teams. The Lightning have won 6 of the last 8 against the Blackahwks, including 4 of 5 at home.

Tampa Bay needs to put game one behind them. They have been very resilient in these playoffs, in following up a loss with a win. I think the Lightning take the split to Chicago in a low scoring game, possibly in overtime.

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