Patrick Kane

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WATCH LIVE: Game 6 of Stanley Cup Final – Lightning at Blackhawks

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Will tonight be the night?

The Chicago Blackhawks shoot for the third Stanley Cup victory of the Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane era and all the dynastic conversations that would come with it if they can take Game 6.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning hope to shake off their growing list of bumps and bruises to force a for-all-the-marbles Game 7 back home.

Tonight’s contest brings plenty of weather jokes since both markets are experiencing storms:

There’s also a noteworthy (and/or highly specific?) historic stat for each side:

Either way, Game 6 airs on NBC, while NBCSN carries coverage before and after the contest. You can stream it all via the NBC Sports Live Extra links below:

Pre-game (NBCSN)

Game 6 (NBC)

Post-game (NBCSN)

Kane trying to not let Hedman get in his head

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four
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CHICAGO — With no goals and just one assist in the first five games of the Stanley Cup Final, Patrick Kane’s offensive production has been notably absent for the Chicago Blackhawks.

One very good reason for that is that Victor Hedman, the Lightning defenseman who’s been a two-way force all throughout the playoffs, no more than in this series.

“He’s a special player,” Kane said this morning. “Not only is he big (and) has a good stick, he’s smart, he’s a great skater. He seems to have all the tools to lock someone down. He’s definitely been impressive throughout the series.”

In Game 5 on Saturday, Kane spent 9:17 of his 15:48 in total ice time with Hedman out there as well.

At home tonight in Game 6, Joel Quenneville should be able to get Kane away from Hedman a bit more. The Blackhawks’ coach has confidence his star forward will come through.

“Kaner, eventually he’ll find a way,” said Quenneville. “That’s what makes him the competitor he is.”

Regardless of the match-ups, Kane doesn’t want to overthink the situation.

“I think when you’re on the ice, you gotta be aware who’s out there, especially for defensive purposes,” he said.

“But sometimes when you think too much about playing against one certain guy, it can backfire on you a little bit. So we’re just worried about playing our game, not worried about what he’s going to do out there too much.”

Kane by series
Nashville: 2 goals, 5 assists in 6 games
Minnesota: 5 goals, 1 assist in 4 games
Anaheim: 3 goals, 4 assists in 7 games
Tampa Bay: 0 goals, 1 assist in 5 games

With offense sputtering, Stamkos says ‘I’ve got to be better’

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TAMPA — Two goals, two losses and on the brink of elimination.

That’s the situation the Tampa Bay Lightning are in following Saturday’s Game 5 loss to the Blackhawks. The Bolts have frittered away a 2-1 series lead and seen their offense disappear with it; despite firing 57 shots at Corey Crawford over the last two games, they have precious little to show for it.

At the center of that dry spell? Steven Stamkos.

source:  The Lightning captain is goalless in the Stanley Cup Final, a scoring slump that dates back to Game 5 of the Rangers series. Saturday, he fired just one puck on net (three attempts total, which is also alarming) and was ineffective during a third period in which Tampa tried to rally, but came up short.

“You have to find a way,” Stamkos said following Saturday’s loss. “We had some looks at the end, it’s just not good enough to get looks right now. We have to find a way. We have to find a way to score some goals.

“It starts with me. I’ve got to be better.”

A series that promised to be an offensive showcase — and, at times during Games 2 and 3, lived up to the billing — has morphed into a defensive, tight-checking affair. The teams have combined to score just six goals over the last two games and while Stamkos isn’t the only high-profile player without a marker (remember, Patrick Kane hasn’t scored either), he’s now clearly feeling the pressure as it’s the Lightning, not the Blackhawks, that can’t afford to lose another game.

Even though he’s struggled, Stamkos said he welcomes the challenge ahead.

“We’ve got one game,” he explained. “It’s going to come down to how much we want to extend our season and what we’re willing to do. This group has come too far not to leave it all on the ice next game.

“We’re experienced in these situations. We’ve gone through it already this playoffs, we’ve found a way.”

Blackhawks’ Kane still searching for his first goal of 2015 Stanley Cup Final

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It’s crunch time for ‘Showtime.’

Four games into this Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning, Patrick Kane has yet to score in this series.

He has one assist, which came in a Game 4 win for the Blackhawks. This series has shifted back to Tampa Bay for Game 5 on Saturday. So far, every game has been decided by just one goal.

Should Kane snap his drought, it could push the advantage closer in the direction of the Blackhawks in a tight series, all even in what is now a best-of-three battle. Maybe, at this point, that means a more long-lasting reunion with Jonathan Toews?

“I think he goes through stretches where he doesn’t produce, but he does a lot of other things that are healthy for our team game,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville told reporters on Friday.

“All of a sudden, you know, he hits the scoreboard and then it’s tough to keep him off it.”

Kane enters Game 5 with nine shots on goal in this series. In two of four games, he’s had a Corsi For rating greater than 55 per cent, according to war-on-ice.com. He went through a shorter two-game drought to start the Western Conference Final before erupting for seven points, including five in the final two games.

“We just know you got to keep working, keep finding ways to create chances,” Toews told reporters. “Eventually believe those bounces are going to go your way.”

See you Saad-urday: ‘Hawks hang on, even Stanley Cup Final 2-2

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CHICAGO — It wasn’t an oil painting.

But it was a win.

The Chicago Blackhawks did just enough on Wednesday night, holding off a furious late Lightning rally to win 2-1 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, evening the series at two games apiece.

Brandon Saad, one of the team’s best skaters over the last two contests, scored the game-winning goal at 6:22 of the third period on an assist from Patrick Kane — his first point of the series — and the ‘Hawks then held on for dear life over the final minutes, as the Bolts threw everything, kitchen sink and all, at Corey Crawford.

Crawford was the story late, making a flurry of saves in the face of serious pressure.

But early on, the guy in the other net was making headlines.

Russian rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 20, was the surprise starter in goal after Tampa Bay ruled out Ben Bishop just prior to gametime. While there’s still no indication of what’s bothering Bishop or how he’s feeling, whatever the ailment is proved severe enough to sideline him for the first time this series — this coming after his gutsy Game 3 performance, in which he stopped 36 shots while clearly laboring.source: Getty Images

Vasilevskiy was the story early, but that narrative faded as the game went on. For a team facing a potential 3-1 series deficit, Chicago didn’t exactly come storming out the gates; they did little to test Vasilevskiy in the opening frame, going the first eight minutes without putting a shot on goal, finishing the opening frame with just seven.

In the end, Vasilevskiy was only beaten twice on a grand total of 19 shots — once by Jonathan Toews (his first of the series) in the second period, and the game-winner by Saad in the third.

The Lightning, meanwhile, could only put one past Crawford, and it too came in the second period. Alex Killorn scored at the 11:47 mark, continuing Tampa’s trend of quickly erasing Chicago’s leads in this series:

What Tampa was unable to do tonight, however, was erase that second lead — though it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Bolts will feel unlucky after carrying play for long stretches tonight, and probably deserved a better fate from a third period in which they out-shot the ‘Hawks 8-5 (25-19 overall).

As for the ‘Hawks? Well, a win’s a win and tonight’s was crucially important. It puts them back on even terms heading into Saturday’s pivotal Game 5, which will go from Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay.

Tonight’s result means the 2015 Stanley Cup Final will go to at least six games — and given how good it’s been so far, that’s a welcome development.

Notes

Toews’ goal was his 10th of the postseason, a career-high…Vasilevskiy became the sixth goalie in NHL history to make his first playoff start in the Stanley Cup Final, joining Joe Miller (Rangers, 1928), Alfie Moore (‘Hawks, 1938), Paul Goodman (‘Hawks, 1938), Hank Bassen (Red Wings, 1961) and Jussi Markkanen (Oilers, 2006)…Killorn’s goal was his ninth in 24 playoff games, after scoring 15 in 71 regular season contests…Every game in this series has now been decided by one goal: the ‘Hawks captured Games 1 and 4 by identical 2-1 scorelines, while Tampa Bay won the middle contests 4-3 and 3-2.