Last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning won Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final over the Chicago Blackhawks, and in the process, we learned a lot about both teams.
In the first period, the Lightning took the lead on a snipe from Ryan Callahan that went bar down over Corey Crawford’s glove hand shoulder. Victor Hedman had a ridiculous stretch pass from behind his own goal line to Callahan who was a Chicago’s blue line. Callahan was able to tee it up and blast it past Crawford but Crawford needed to have that save. He was down in the butterfly too early and gave up the whole top of the net for Callahan.
After the Bolt goal, ironically. the Hawks took control and they ended up scoring on a powerplay goal from the stick of Brad Richards that Ben Bishop should have had. It hit off Bishop’s glove and floated into the back of the net. Throughout the remainder of the period, Chicago was able to control all the momentum but could never score. Marian Hossa missed an empty net which could have been huge for the Hawks.
The second period was a lot more even, though we did learn just how hurt Bishop might be. Bishop looked like he was having a hard time moving from right to left, grimacing at times. Then he laid down flat after Brandon Saad interefered with him a little bit (he sold it). This is going to be an ongoing storyline for the rest of the series.
In the third, the Hawks took the lead on a Saad goal, but the Bolts tied it up 13 seconds later to essentially wipe out all the momentum. The Triplets drove right down the ice and Crawford kicked a rebound right to Ondrej Palat who put it into the back of the net.
With about three minutes left in the game, Hedman (dude is legit and is only getting better) was able to gain entry into the Hawks zone and feed the put to a driving Cedric Paquette who tapped it past Crawford. Despite some late pressure by Chicago, Tampa held on and takes a 2-1 series lead.
TL;DR- Chicago could have ended the game in the first but missed opportunities, Crawford looks really leaky, Bishop is really hurt, Hedman is incredible, the Hawks’ blue line has questions, and Tampa has a chance to take a stranglehold on Wednesday.