Monday, June 8, 2015

The Puck Drops Here 6.8.15: #StanleyCupFinal Games 1 & 2 Recap

By @CLulovics


The 2015 Stanley Cup finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning began on Wednesday night in Tampa. A lot of people thought that both teams would have a "feeling out" during the early stages of game 1 but it never happened. Tampa came out quicker than most people believed since players on Chicago definitely has more experience not only playing in the finals but playoffs overall. Tampa out shot Chicago in the first period 10-7 and out hit them 12-11. Alex Killorn opened up the scoring at 4:31 of the first period giving Tampa an early 1-0 lead after redirecting a shot from Anton Stralman. Both teams were 0-1 on the power-play in the first period.

The second period really didn't amount to much as it played out more like the first period should of with both teams "feeling each other out" but with Chicago starting to pick up steam and adapted to Tampa's playing style. Towards the end of the period Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford came up huge with back to back big saves against Tampa Captain Steven Stamkos keeping the score 1-0. Chicago was 0-2 on the power-play while Tampa was 0-1. Shots in the second saw Tampa out-shoot Chicago 8-6 bringing the games total to 18-13 in favor of the Lightning. Tampa also out hit Chicago 8-5 bringing those totals to 20-16 in favor of the Lightning as well.

Chicago came out in the 3rd skating, passing, and playing their game putting pressure on Tampa but Tampa's defense stood up to the task. Chicago's defense also was up to the task holding Tampa without a shot on goal threw the first 10 minutes into the third. In fact only 2 shots were taken in the first 10 minutes of the third both by Chicago. Tampa turned the puck over many times early in the third but Chicago couldn't take advantage of those turnovers. Chicago finally managed to put one in the back of the net at 13:28 by Teuvo Teravainen to tie it at 1-1. Another Tampa turnover resulted in an unassisted goal by Antoine Vermette at 15:26 which turned out to be the game winning goal. Chicago had the edge in shots in the 3rd 8-5 but Tampa had the overall lead 23-21. Tampa outhit the Blackhawks 9-5 in the period for an overall game advantage of 29-21. But shots and hits don't win games.

Both goalies played well throughout 3 periods. Maybe it was all the turnovers that did in the Lightning. Maybe it was Chicago's ability to adapt to Tampa's playing style. Nonetheless Chicago came out on top in game 1 in Tampa and taking away home ice advantage.


Going into game 2 Tampa needed a win to tie the series before heading to Chicago for the next two games as being down 0-2 would of almost spelled doom for the Lightning. Game 2 was completely different than game 1 was as the score showed in a 4-3 win for the home Lightning.

Scoring opened up in the first by the Lightning with a goal from Cedric Paquette with assists from Ryan Callahan and Victor Hedman. Tampa lead the first period with shots on goal by a slim 12-11 margin. Tampa was also 0-1 on the power-play while Chicago never got a chance in the period to try to capitalize with the man advantage.

Going into the second with the way both games have gone so far no one saw the offense production that would happen. Chicago came out shooting and found a way to beat Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop by scoring two quick goals at 3:04 by Andrew Shaw and 5:20 on a power-play goal by Teuvo Teravainen taking a 2-1 early into the second period. Only a minute and fifty two seconds later at 6:52 Tampa tied the game at 2 with a goal from Nikita Kucherov. Then at 13:58 the Lightning took back the lead with a goal from Tyler Johnson. That lead held the rest of the period as the Lightning took a 3-2 lead going into the 3rd and final period. Chicago was 1-2 on the power-play while the Lightning this period did not get a chance on the man advantage. Shots in the period once again saw Tampa with a lead 10-8 taking a game total of 22-19.

The third period could be described as wild. Chicago scored early at 3:38 to tie the game at 3 with a goal from Brent Seabrook. Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop left right after the goal and in came 20 year old Andrei Vasilevskiy. The relief was only brief as Bishop came back into the game. At 8:49 Jason Garrison of the Lightning scored to make the score 4-3 with a power-play goal beating Chicago goalie Corey Crawford. At the 12:19 mark of the period Bishop once again left the net and Vasilevskiy came back in for the rest of the game. Shots in the 3rd were 10-2 in favor of the Blackhawks and 29-24 also in favor of the Blackhawks. Tampa was 1-2 on the power-play while Chicago was 0-1 bringing the total with both teams 1-3 on the man advantage.

Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy became the first goalie to come in relief in the Finals since 1928. Tampa needed this win bad. Chicago had the opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the series and heading home looking to clinch. If Tampa can steal two games in Chicago which is going to be hard to do they can come back home for game 5 and seal the Cup. But Chicago is a tough team who has been in the Finals before and know how to handle business. Games 3 and 4 will be interesting to see. Will Bishop come back into goal? Will Chicago be able to capitalize in their home arena? We will have to wait and see until Monday night June 8th.

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