By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks found the tables turned on them in Tampa Bay Friday night. After shutting out the Panthers the night before, a tired Hawks squad was blanked by the Lightning’s Ben Bishop. Chicago leaves Florida following a 4-0 loss.
First Period-Joakim Nordstrom was taken down by Ondrej Polat just 1:04 into the contest, though Chicago couldn’t find the mark with the power play. Other than a couple of rebounds on that man advantage, neither team had much offense in the first five minutes.
Scott Darling, in goal for the Blackhawks, stopped a couple of redirect attempts in the sixth minute before the Lightning got caught with too many men on the ice. A Partick Sharp turnover put Chicago on its heels early in the power play and another opportunity to draw first blood slipped away.
A late call on Duncan Keith for high-sticking resulted in a double minor near the midway point of the period. Lead by Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, the Hawks killed all four minutes of the infraction.
Brian Boyle picked off a pass by Seabrook in front of the Chicago net late in the 14th minute but missed with a backhand attempt. Moments later, Marian Hossa took a pass from Jonathan Toews and looked to have a good look at the net. However, Hossa couldn’t pull the trigger on a shot.
Jonathan Drouin was sent to the box for boarding Sharp with 4:26 to play in the first. The Hawks peppered Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop with shots but none of them sniffed twine.
A bullet was dodged in the final ticks of the clock when Keith turned over the puck right in front of Darling. Palat hit Nikita Kucherov coming down the left side for an apparent goal. Fortunately for the Hawks, it was ruled that the horn had sounded before the shot crossed the line. As a result, Chicago entered the first intermission in a scoreless tie.
Second Period-The action was mostly in the defensive zone in the first few minutes. Hossa got a couple of pucks on Bishop in the fifth minute. Tampa Bay returned to the attack and drew a holding penalty from Teuvo Teravainen at 4:59. Drouin was stopped with a poke check by Darling. Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith drove on Bishop and had a shorthanded opportunity. Smith couldn’t get a good whack at a rebound left by the Lightning goalie on Kruger’s shot.
After winning a puck from Teravainen in the corner, Drouin backhanded a pass to Boyle in the slot. The shot beat Darling high on the stick side at 8:27 of the middle stanza to put the Lightning up 1-0.
Brandon Saad swiped a puck in the neutral zone in the 11th minute and streaked to the Tampa Bay net only to have Bishop turn away the attempt. Darling stayed busy at the other end, absorbing a Drouin attempt off a rebound.
With 4:38 remaining, Keith was sent to the box for interference. Chicago killed the penalty but couldn’t clear the puck once Keith got back on the ice. Jason Garrison sent a shot from the point that was tipped by Steven Stamkos and beat Darling 17:53 into the period. The Blackhawks skated into the locker room down a pair of goals after 40 minutes.
Third Period-Darling kept the Hawks in it with a couple of stops in the opening minutes of the period, most notably an attempt by Ryan Callahan that came on an odd man rush in the second minute. Chicago kept the action in the Lighting end of the ice but went into PK mode at 6:38 when Kris Versteeg tripped Nikita Nesterov behind the Tampa Bay net.
Some nice cross-ice passing by Tyler Johnson and Valtteri Filppula set Callahan up for a tap in goal 59 seconds into the Lightning power play. Tampa Bay now held a commanding 3-0 at the 7:37 mark. Versteeg hooked Nesterov in the 16th minute, allowing Stamkos to close out the scoring with a power play goal.
Three Stars-Boyle (third), Stamkos (second), Bishop (first).
-While the game was in progress, it was announced that the Blackhawks had acquired Kimmo Timonen from the Flyers for a second-round pick this summer and a conditional pick in 2016. If Timonen can be as effective as he was before the blood clots that have kept him out of action for nearly a year, this is a big pickup. It’s far from a sure thing that Timonen can just pick up where he left off at age 39, though.
-There isn’t much to say about this one, folks. Chicago iced the same lineup as the night before and looked like a team playing its second game in as many nights. The Blackhawks really didn’t threaten Bishop (who stopped all 28 Chicago shots) much after that power play late in the first period.
-Darling gave up four goals on 29 shots. Tough night for him, though it’s hard to fault him much for the chances given to the Lightning. Pucks should have been cleared from the defensive zone on the first two goals and the Hawks spent a lot of time playing down a man tonight.
-The Blackhawks enter a period where they play just three times over the next 12 days. Chicago now has a chance at some rest before taking on Carolina Monday night.