By Chris Block
The 2015 Stanley Cup Final is shifting to United Center in Chicago on Monday with the series tied 1-1 after Tampa Bay bested the Blackhawks 4-3 in front of 19,204 fans at Amalie Arena on Saturday night.
Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teravainen and Brent Seabrook notched the visitor’s goals, but Tampa was able to put 4 past Corey Crawford, who made 20 saves in an effort Joel Quenneville characterized as “just okay.”
The Blackhawks entered the 3rd period of Game 2 as they did three nights prior in Game 1, trailing Tampa Bay by a goal. Saturday night was following a similar path as Wednesday’s series opener, with Chicago largely dominating the pace of the game in the final twenty minutes of regulation.
Brent Seabrook tied the game at 3:38 of the third when his blast from the top of the point blew by Ben Bishop’s glove hand. Seabrook’s 7th of the postseason put the score at 3-3, but was not without controversy. As the puck closed in on Bishop, Marian Hossa converged on Bishop’s crease as well. Hossa skated toward the crease with his stick pushing into Bishop’s left leg pad. It appeared to be a clear example of goaltender interference, whether intentional or not, but after a brief conversation among the officials, the goal was allowed to stand.
But even with the game-tying goal in hand and outshooting the Lightning 10-2 in the third period, the Blackhawks were unable to complete the comeback as they did in Game 1.
Five minutes after Seabrook’s tally, Jason Garrison sent a shot on net that redirected off the stick of Andrew Desjardins’ stick and eluded Corey Crawford, giving Tampa a 4-3 lead that would hold as the eventual final score.
Though the Hawks came out of Tampa with the split any team asks for, they have led just six and a half minutes of the 120 thus far played. The resilient Lightning trailed for just 1:32 of Game 2, answering Teuvo Teravainen’s go-ahead goal at 5:20 of the 2nd period when Nikita Kucherov tipped Jason Garrison’s left point shot by a seemingly stunned Crawford.
That goal against, which was something you grew accustomed to seeing in the 80’s more so than in today’s styles of goaltending as Crawford was upright and standing in the middle of his crease when the puck whizzed by his right foot, and the Tyler Johnson goal that put Tampa ahead 3-2 seven minutes later were probably the two goals Quenneville was most agitated by.
Goaltending alone wasn’t the reason for the Hawks downfall in Game 2. Cedric Paquette’s goal to start the scoring in the first was a result of three different Hawks not being able to handle a puck in their own zone after Ryan Callahan out-raced Kyle Cumiskey to a dump in. Johnson’s go-ahead goal in the 2nd period was in part set up by both Johnny Oduya and Teuvo Teravainen being unable to wrestle a puck away from Nikita Kucherov along the half wall to Crawford’s right. Teravainen’s effort, in particular, on that play was lackluster.
Patrick Sharp’s back-to-back minor penalties (for slashing then high-sticking) in the third period were momentum killers in an otherwise Chicago-paced final frame. Sharp was out of the box for 18 seconds when he committed the second penalty that put his team down a man again. Garrison’s game-winner came via the second Sharp minor.
The top four on defense is still heavily being taxed and that’s unlikely to change given Quenneville and Mike Kitchen have apparently have less than waning confidence in Kyle Cumiskey, David Rundblad and Kimmo Timonen. Cumiskey skated just 5:08 and Rundblad 7:48 in Game 2. Timonen was a healthy scratch once again and it certainly appears as though the coaching staff will turn to Trevor van Riemsdyk, who hasn’t played a game since March 28th, and hasn’t appeared in NHL action for the Hawks since November 16th, before going back to the 40-year old deadline acquisition.
Outside of their stellar top four, the Hawks defense is in rough shape. That’s, of course, without Michal Rozsival, lost to a shattered left ankle in the series-clinching sweep of Minnesota. Stephen Johns likely would have been turned to by now had it not been for him fracturing his left forearm in the IceHogs final playoff game in Round 2 of the AHL playoffs against Grand Rapids last month.
Van Riemsdyk, coming off wrist surgery in early April, played in just 18 games (0 goals, 1 assist) with the Blackhawks before his left kneecap was shattered, blocking a Trevor Daley shot on the night of Brad Richards’ 1,000th game at the United Center on November 16.
But, while van Riemsdyk has been off rehabbing his surgically repaired right wrist, the bigger issue for TvR during his playing time spent with the Rockford IceHogs in March was his skating. Not particularly a graceful skater to begin with, back-to-back series injuries sustained to his left ankle (in January of 2014 while playing college hockey at New Hampshire) and the left knee fracture, seemed to take a toll on the young Blackhawks defenseman, who will turn 24 next month.
In fact, the last game van Riemsdyk played, an IceHogs 4-2 loss at Utica, he was primarily responsible for Utica’s first two goals, both scored by Darren Archibald.
On the first, van Riemsdyk couldn’t handle a puck at the offensive blue line. The puck went back into the IceHogs end. Antti Raanta had to come out of his net because TvR wasn’t fast enough to get back and make a play on the puck himself. Actually, van Riemsdyk wasn’t able to get back to Rockford’s blue line in enough time to give Raanta an outlet pass. Thus, Raanta had to improvise, got handcuffed because Kyle Cumiskey, TvR’s partner at the time, was too far off to the other side of the ice with a forechecker bearing down on Raanta. The ‘Hogs goalie turned the puck over and Utica had an easy empty-net goal.
To start the second period, former IceHog Adam Clendening targeted van Riemsdyk on a stretch-pass. Archibald was the recipient and he blew by van Riemsdyk on his way to beating Raanta.
After that game, the decision was made to shut van Riemsdyk down. Later that week he visited Chicago and Blackhawks’ doctors. At that point it was decided that he would have surgery to repair the problem with his wrist, which was just as well because van Riemsdyk’s mobility on the ice wasn’t improving to that point. That being said, van Riemsdyk’s surgery was put off until April 7th, or 10 days after the last game he played at Utica.
After the surgery, the talk was that van Riemsdyk’s season was over. His timetable for a return, based on the two month recovery period set by Dr. Michael Terry, would have been on or about June 2nd. He continued his rehab in Rockford, not Chicago – an apparent sign that he was not going to be counted on at least at the NHL level again this year. Saying that, because Kyle Cumiskey was pulled from Rockford when the NHL playoffs began to be a depth option on the NHL roster, the Hawks not wanting to risk him being injured in the AHL in case he’d be needed. Their foresight turned out to be correct.
And now the Hawks are in a position where they feel the need to turn to a player that while impressive at the NHL level six months ago, he has only played 8 games since, all at the AHL level, and the last was 10 weeks ago.
Logic would have to say that the coaching staff has observed van Riemsdyk recently and believes his mobility on the ice has improved well past where it stood in the AHL ten weeks ago. If it hasn’t, or if it has even only marginally, putting van Riemsdyk in the lineup ahead of Rundblad or Cumiskey would be a huge mistake.
But that does appear to be the direction Quenneville is leaning toward going into Game 3 at the United Center. TvR did participate in the warmup skate prior to Game 2. That’s not necessarily indicative of anything usually. Viktor Svedberg has participated in warmup skates prior to games in the Western Conference Final round and he was probably never seriously considered to play. Svedberg does travel with the Blackhawks on road trips since joining the team after Rockford’s elimination from the Calder Cup playoffs.
Overall, the Game 2 loss in Tampa just seemed like a game the Hawks were destined to lose. The Sharp penalties, the two bad goals Crawford allowed, the non-call on Hossa’s goaltender interference leading to Seabrook’s goal – when you add it all up, the Hawks didn’t play well enough to win a Stanley Cup Final game. It was a missed opportunity. And yet, all things considered, the Hawks were in the game until the final horn.
The Hawks played a much better fist period this time around. The play was back-and-forth and end-to-end almost the entire opening frame.
Tampa had been buzzing around the Hawks’ end for a few shifts when Tyler Johnson rang a wrist shot by Crawford’s blocker and off the post. The puck laid out atop Crawford’s crease, but Duncan Keith quickly identified the loose puck in dangerous territory and swatted it completely out of the zone to ensure the game remained scoreless.
A few Hawks having trouble with a hot puck around Crawford’s net led to Cedric Paquette putting the Lightning on the board at the 12:56 mark of the game. Ryan Callahan beat Kyle Cumiskey to a dump in, but then lost possession to Cumiskey, who immediately lost the handle, himself. The danced out into the low slot where Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad fought against one another to grab the handle. Neither did and the puck bounced back to Paquette high in the zone. Paquette stickhandled around Saad and wristed a shot back through traffic against the grain that beat Crawford on the blocker side.
New addition to the Lightning lineup, Jonathan Drouin, coughed up a puck along the half wall in his own end with just under 5 minutes to play in the first. Saad came away with the puck and fed Kane atop the right circle. Kane fired a pass low to Toews, who tried to backhand the puck between Bishop’s pads, but the Lightning netminder jammed his five hole just enough to seal the puck underneath him as he looked behind him to check if he, or the puck had crossed over the goal line. It did not.
Johnny Oduya picked up the first of three Hawks penalties on the night late in the first when he blatantly yanked the feet out from under Valtteri Filppula aside Crawford’s net, then complained about the call. Tampa was unable to get anything by Crawford on that opportunity, however.
Chicago got on the board, tying the game 1-1 at 3:04 of the second when Andrew Shaw parked himself in front of Bishop and was first to find the rebound off Andrew Desjardins’ shot from atop the left circle. Shaw was battling in front with Jason Garrison. Marcus Kruger had also drifted to the front of the net to provide an additional layer of traffic for Bishop to contend with after the Hawks 4th line had been working the cycle along the left wall. Kruger and Desjardins both assisted on Shaw’s 5th of the playoffs.
About a minute later, Alex Killorn was sent off for hooking.
Teuvo Teravainen worked a give-and-go with Marian Hossa that finished with Teravainen beating Bishop for Teuvo’s 2nd goal of the series and 4th of the postseason to gain a 2-1 Hawks lead. Hossa and Sharp assisted at 5:20 of the 2nd period with Teuvo on that second power play unit.
Tampa had an immediate push back, though, with Nikita Kucherov redirecting a Garrison shot at 6:52 to tie the game at 2-all.
Two and a half minutes later, the Hawks got a power play as Brayden Coburn held Kris Versteeg behind the goal but the Hawks weren’t able to muster much on the ensuing chance.
The Lightning’s third line was out against the Hawks’ fourth when Ryan Callahan had to hustle back and prevent Andrew Shaw from getting a clean look at Bishop. Callahan raced back and his diving pokecheck prevented Shaw from getting his shot off.
A minute later, the “Triplets” line was out against the Hawks’ third line and they gave Tampa a 3-2 lead with 6:02 left in the 2nd.
The sequence began when Oduya reached for a puck near the wall to the right of Crawford. Oduya was attempting to chip the puck up the wall to Teravainen, but his chip was too weak. Oduya followed the puck and met Teravainen at the half wall where they dueled with Kucherov for the hot puck. Teravainen didn’t put much muscle behind his end of the battle and Kucherov came away with the puck. He immediately chipped it down to Tyler Johnson along the goal line extended. Johnson flipped the puck on net that rolled up Crawford’s back and into the net. Crawford had his right pad at the post but the little space that was there, the puck found and Tampa had regained the lead.
In the period’s final minute, J.T. Brown redirected a shot that hit the post beside Crawford’s left toe.
After two periods, shots were 22-19 in Tampa’s favor. Crawford was definitely shaky in the opening forty minutes, even aside from the goals that were scored. He wasn’t tested much in the third, however.
Seabrook’s disputed goal with Hossa’s stick interference came at 3:38 of the 3rd. The play was set up by a long pass from Oduya down the middle of the ice to Toews, who gained the line and left the puck for Seabrook to wind up.
Shortly after this, Ben Bishop left the game momentarily to retreat to Tampa’s locker room. In his absence, Andrei Vasilevskiy took his place.
While he did, Jason Garrison scored the power play goal off Desjardins’ stick that became the game-winner.
Bishop did return right after Garrison’s goal, but left the game once again a couple shifts later. The Canadian broadcast speculated that it was a lower body injury based on footage they had examined. Jon Cooper would not comment on Bishop’s status after the game and none of the Lightning players the media spoke to claimed to have any knowledge of what the problem was. Cooper did rule out that it was anything bathroom related.
The Hawks caught a break late when Andrej Sustr lifted the puck over the glass from his own end for a delay of game infraction. That power play produced nothing but two long Patrick Sharp shots and a nice left pad save Vasilevskiy made that Saad was unable to locate the rebound on quickly enough for a follow up chance.
Crawford was pulled with 2 minutes to go but Tampa was able to stave off any final push the Hawks could put their way and the game ended by a 4-3 score.
Vasilevskiy picked up the win because he was in the net when Garrison put Tampa up 4-3. Even if Bishop would have returned and stayed in the game after that, Vasilevskiy would have been the winning goalie because of the way the official scoring rules work. He made 5 saves.
Because of the 10-2 third period, Chicago wound up outshooting Tampa 29-24.
Game 3 is Monday at the United Center, sometime after 7pm central.
–With his assist on Brent Seabrook’s game-tying goal in the 3rd, Jonathan Toews registered his 100th career playoff point. In 113 postseason games, Toews has 38 goals and 62 assists. To compare, Patrick Kane has skated one fewer playoff game than Toews. In 112 playoff contests, Kane has 47 goals, 64 assists for 111 points.
–In that vein, Marian Hossa is one goal away from his 50th playoff goal. Hossa played his 190th career playoff game on Saturday, most on the Hawks by far, and has 49 goals and 92 assists (141pts). Kane is three goals shy of 50 career postseason goal tallies.
–With his 2nd period goal that snuck between Crawford and the post, Tyler Johnson set a new Tampa Bay single-playoff goal record. Johnson’s 13th goal of the playoffs (leads the NHL) surpassed Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko, who each notched 12 goals for the Lightning in their 2004 Stanley Cup Championship season.
–According to NBC, the ‘Triplets’ line of Kucherov-Johnson-Palat has scored 30 of Tampa’s 60 goals this postseason.
–Hawks have outshot Tampa 18-7 in the 3rd period thus far.
–Joel Quenneville’s Game 2 lineup in Tampa on June 6, 2015
20-Brandon Saad / 19-Jonathan Toews / 88-Patrick Kane
23-Kris Versteeg / 91-Brad Richards / 81-Marian Hossa
10-Patrick Sharp / 80-Antoine Vermette / 86-Teuvo Teravainen
11-Andrew DesJardins / 16-Marcus Kruger / 65-Andrew Shaw
2-Duncan Keith / 7-Brent Seabrook
27-Johnny Oduya / 4-Niklas Hjalmarsson
26-Kyle Cumiskey / 5-David Rundblad
33-Scott Darling (backup)
31-Antti Raanta (emergency backup)
Power play I: Shaw-Toews-Kane w/ Richards & Keith
Power play II: Teravainen-Saad-Hossa w/ Sharp & Seabrook
PK forwards: Kruger-Saad, Toews-Hossa
PK defense: Keith-Hjalmarsson, Oduya-Seabrook
-Quenneville split Toews and Kane again for the 3rd period, with Hossa returning to Toews’ line and Kane back down with Richards.
–Jon Cooper’s Tampa Bay Lightning lineup up for Game 2
17-Alex Killorn / 51-Valtteri Filppula / 91-Steven Stamkos
86-Nikita Kucherov / 9-Tyler Johnson / 18-Ondrej Palat
23-J.T. Brown / 13-Cedric Paquette / 24-Ryan Callahan
10-Brenden Morrow / 11-Brian Boyle / 27-Jonathan Drouin
77-Victor Hedman / 6-Anton Stralman
5-Jason Garrison / 55-Braydon Coburn
25-Matthew Carle / 62-Andrej Sustr
88-Andrei Vasilevskiy (backup)
37-Kristers Gudlevskis (emergency backup)
Power play I: Palat-Johnson-Kucherov w/ Stamkos & Stralman
Power play II: Killorn-Filppula-Callahan w/Hedman & Garrison
PK forwards: Palat-Boyle, Filppula-Killorn, Johnson-Paquette
PK defense: Garrison-Coburn, Hedman-Stralman
-Cooper had been dressing 7 defensemen, opting to go that route and sit rookie Jonathan Drouin. After the Game 1 loss, Cooper flipped on that philosophy, inserting Drouin back into the lineup on the team’s 4th line.