On one hand, you can be happy that the Chicago Blackhawks are leaving Tampa Bay with a point in a road game against the Eastern Conference’s best team. On the other hand, you can be infuriated that the Blackhawks blew a 2-0 only to lose 3-2 in overtime.
The Blackhawks and Lightning treated us to a fun opening period of hockey on Wednesday night. Patrick Kane got the scoring started by sniping a wrist shot over the glove hand of Andrei Vasilevskiy from just above the right faceoff dot. Artem Anisimov and Jan Rutta had the assists on Kane’s seventh goal of the year.
Shortly after the Kane goal, Tampa Bay got 5:15 of consecutive power play time, including a two-man advantage for 45 seconds, thanks to a double minor for high-sticking on John Hayden and a hooking call against Jonathan Toews. The penalty kill was up to the task as they shut down the NHL’s second best power play.
The Blackhawks got their own 5-on-3 later in the first period and they cashed in at the 15:54 mark to double their lead. It was Kane with his second goal of the night from a bad angle on the right side, finishing off a pretty passing play with Cody Franson and Duncan Keith.
Kane was responsible for the third goal of the game, but unfortunately it was the tally that started the Tampa comeback. While on an early second period power play, and moments after Brandon Saad was denied on a 3-on-1 rush, Kane turned the puck over just inside his blue line and it led to a shorthanded rush going the other way. Victor Hedman made a 30-foot drop pass to Ryan Callahan in the slot who quickly passed to Ondrej Palat in the left circle where he blasted a one-timer past Corey Crawford.
Four-time Stanley Cup winner Chris Kunitz tied the game just 31 seconds into the third period as he found a soft spot in the lost and slammed a rebound off a Brayden Coburn shot between the legs of Crawford.
The Blackhawks played with fire all night long by taking five penalties in regulation, but lived to tell the story. Unfortunately in overtime, Nick Schmaltz was called for a “slash” and Jon Copper had the luxury of sending four forwards out for the power play.
The game ended when Steven Stamkos faked a one-timer from the high slot and passed down low to Brayden Point. Crawford came to the top of the crease to take away the Stamkos shot so he had no chance to get back to stop Point’s shot. Jonathan Toews and Jan Rutta did him no favors by both heading toward Nikita Kucherov leaving Point wide open.
The Blackhawks will be back in action Saturday night at the Florida Panthers, who beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout tonight.