Tag: Corey Crawford


Bolts lament passive third period: ‘We just sat back way too much’


TAMPA — Former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach John Tortorella used to have a saying:

Safe is death.”

On Wednesday night, his old team should’ve heeded that advice.

The Lightning played it safe in the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final and, without getting too hyperbolic, it basically killed them. It was the topic of conversation in the dressing room following the 2-1 loss, in which the Blackhawks rallied to score two goals in 1:58 in the third period — a period that saw the Bolts put just five shots on goal.

“You can’t take anything for granted against a team like that,” defenseman Anton Stralman said. “You can’t give them the room and space we did for 15 minutes in the third period. We just sat back too much and got away from our game a little bit.

“So, lesson learned.”

There were signs Tampa was reverting into a defensive shell in the second period, but the third was when the team really hunkered down. The Bolts rarely ventured forward and went over 13 minutes without registering a shot on Corey Crawford — this from a team that averaged close to 30 a night during the regular season.

“We just got away from playing smart defensive hockey and keeping pressure on them,” captain Steve Stamkos explained. “We’ve done it in the past. Whether it was chips and flips and getting rid of the puck, not making the confident play that we’ve made in the past.

“That’s a tough one to swallow.”

In Tampa Bay’s defense, some of this mentality might’ve carried over from an airtight performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. At MSG, the Bolts smothered the Rangers in what was one of the team’s best checking performances of the playoffs; there was also that Game 7 mindset of killing time to get the win, which was clearly on display again tonight.

“Tonight in the third period we played almost a half-ice game,” head coach Jon Cooper explained. “Against a team like Chicago, you can’t let them keep coming at you the way we did.

“I thought we had chances to put them away. We didn’t put them away. And once you do that, to me, that was letting them hang around.”

Comeback ‘Hawks: Chicago stuns Tampa Bay with late rally to take Game 1

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

TAMPA — It took less than two minutes. One hundred and eighteen seconds, to be exact.

That’s all the Chicago Blackhawks needed to turn Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final completely on its head, as Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored 1:58 apart in the third period to earn a 2-1 win and stun the Lightning — and their fans — at Amalie Arena on Wednesday night.

It was a signature comeback win for Chicago, which for the second time this postseason won a game it trailed after two periods. The ‘Hawks also stole home-ice advantage, guaranteeing at least a split in Tampa before heading home to the United Center for Games 3 and 4.

The loss will undoubtedly sting the Bolts. Owners of the NHL’s best offense during the regular season, Tampa Bay took an early first-period lead on Alex Killorn’s slick re-direct, then slowly reverted into a defensive shell.

“We just sat back a little too much,” said Tampa captain Steve Stamkos.

If there was ever a time to trot out the “prevent defense only prevents you from winning” cliché, tonight was that time.

The mantra especially held true in the third period. As the ‘Hawks poured it on, looking to beat Ben Bishop after being stymied for the first 40 minutes, the Lightning played not to lose and went over 13 minutes without a shot on goal in the final frame.

For a series that many expected to be filled with goals and scoring chances, Game 1 didn’t fit the bill. Chicago fired a postseason-low 21 shots on Bishop, while Corey Crawford was forced to make just 22 stops — five of which came in the third period.

As mentioned above, the loss is a stinger for Tampa Bay and it’ll be interesting to see how the club reacts. While it’s only one game and the first of the series, there is some history worth noting — since the Stanley Cup Final went to best-of-7 in 1939, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to win it all 77 percent of the time.

WATCH LIVE: Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final – Blackhawks at Lightning

Patrick Kane

For many hockey fans, it’s something of a dream series. Whether you lean toward the proven Chicago Blackhawks or the promising Tampa Bay Lightning, you’re unlikely to lament a lack of speed or skill in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

Really, it feels like puckheads are getting spoiled here. On one side, you have Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and a bevvy of other talented Blackhawks. Few would dismiss the Lightning’s chances, however, as they boast Steven Stamkos, “The Triplets” and Victor Hedman. Ben Bishop vs. Corey Crawford also makes for an intriguing goalie matchup.

The buildup might have been agonizing for some, but the plus side is that the two teams couldn’t be much more rested this deep into the postseason. Game 1 kicks off in Tampa Bay, so you can soak up the electric atmosphere on NBC and also via NBC Sports Live Extra. Coverage before and after the contest takes place on NBCSN, but you can stream also stream that footage via the links below.

Pre-game stream (NBCSN)

Game 1 stream (NBC)

Post-game stream