The last two minutes of last night’s Stanley Cup Final Game 4 is the reason why I think everyone should at least give hockey a chance. It was a one goal game, the goalie was pulled, and pucks and bodies were flying everywhere. The Chicago Blackhawks were able to hold on and win but boy did the Tampa Bay Lightning make it tough.
Last night, the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks started and in no way did that game disappoint. The Lightning started the game like they were shot out of a cannon. They were fast, they were hitting hard, and they were killing the Blackhawks. They were able to get the lead early on a redonkulous tip by Alex Killorn (04:31) to take a 1-0 lead.The rest of the 1st period was status quo for the Lightning as they were able to keep control.
The second period was a different story, though. The game evened out in chances and the Blackhawks settled in defensively. The chances the Bolts had in the first were no longer there. The Hawks got some jump and were able to get some chances of their own. The scoreboard did not change in the second, but the overall game did.
The third period was complete domination by Chicago. They controlled tempo and chances. The game really took a turn in the Hawks favor when Corey Crawford stopped Ryan Callahan on a breakaway. It was a clutch save on Crawford’s part and gave his team a jump that they used effectively. At 13:28 of the third, Teuvo Teravainen took a shot from just above the left wing circle that found its way through about five bodies and into the back of the net. Ben Bishop never saw the puck.
A little over two minutes later, the same line of Teravainen-Anton Vermette-Patrick Sharp forced a turnover in the offensive zone which Teravainen was able to tap over to Vermette who roofed it to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead which they never relinquished.
TL;DR version of this: The Bolts dominated the first 30 minutes, and the Hawks dominated the latter half of the game and won on two really good plays.
This weekend is going to be incredible for hockey. Two Game 7’s in the conference finals featuring the league’s four best teams (based on roster, not solely on record). The first of the two went down last night and the Tampa Bay Lightning emerged as the victors.
Last night’s game was tight throughout. Both Henrik Lundqvist and Ben Bishop were spectacular, though Lundqvist was being left out to dry by his defence far more often than Bishop. It was scoreless throughout the game until Alex Killorn was able to slide a backhand through Lundqvist’s five hole (at 01:54 of the 3rd period) which the goalie never saw. Some are saying it was a softie, but it’s really hard to stop a puck which you never see and barely feel.
The Rangers never really responded to that goal. They were flat the majority of the game and it showed during the third. Less than 10 minutes later, Tyler Johnson (11:17 of the 3rd) set up Ondrej Palat, who went top corner, to beat The King and give the Bolts an insurmountable 2-0 lead.
Even with the goalie pulled for the final three or so minutes, the Rangers were never really able to get a really good scoring chance. Their shots were either being blocked by diving defenders or stopped by Bishop, who was a stonewall last night. In the biggest game of the season, guys like Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis were invisible and the depth guys just couldn’t get it done.
Half the Stanley Cup Final is set and now the Lightning await the winner of the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks series. My gut says Chicago tonight.