It happened again. The Blackhawks knew they couldn’t lose twice on home ice. So they fought to give us a draw in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Finals against the Lightning. It stands at 2-2.
After a nervous wait, Lightning fans were hit with the news that injured goaltender Ben Bishop would be replaced with rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 17 saves on 19 shots. Chicago’s Corey Crawford made 25 saves.
But Tampa Coach Jon Cooper is by no means blaming Vasilevskiy, who did a great job regardless of the outcome. “If you tell me we’re going to come in and he’s going to give up two goals, that’s a hell of a job in my book. We’ve had a lot of success when we’ve only given up two”.
With 8:13 left in the second period, Alex Killorn took a feed from Valterri Filppula and fired one so fast, that Crawford didn’t even see the puck. That was the Lightning’s only goal.
After a slow start for the Blackhawks, Toews finally batted a puck past Vasilevskiy midway through the second period, putting the score at 1-0, and sealing Toews reputation for delivering show-stoppers for the Hawks.
Chicago’s Brandon Saad was responsible for the game-winner when there was 13:38 left in the third period. It was Saad’s second straight game with a goal, so the fans just love him right now.
It’s interesting to note that Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Tampa’s Steven Stamkos haven’t scored a goal this series. Usually high-impact, these two haven’t been at the top of their game, with Stamkos being uncharacteristically stopped on a number of occasions, most significantly by Brent Seabrook during a frenzied finish.
The pressure is on, with both sides fully aware of the pivotal Game 5 on Saturday. While everyone’s certain that both teams will play hard to win, many analysts are perhaps leaning more towards Chicago to go that one step further. It’s not long to go now. Game 5, here we come.