Heading into a three-game set vs. the Lightning, the (seemingly rising) Blackhawks had something to prove.
After those three games against the Lightning, the Blackhawks would probably agree they have some things to work on. Despite coughing up a 3-0 lead on Sunday, the Blackhawks can also take some positive things from this experience.
That includes some standings points. On March 4, the Blackhawks fell in overtime, then they took a shootout win on March 5. This time, it ended in regulation, as Tampa Bay won 6-3.
It remains to be seen if the Blackhawks will have Connor Murphy against the Stars on Tuesday, though. Murphy was ejected for an illegal hit to the head of Erik Cernak, who did not return to the game:
Lightning rally from down 3-0 to beat Blackhawks
From the start, the Blackhawks and Lightning played at a hectic pace.
Philipp Kurashev and Mattias Janmark scored goals to put Chicago up 2-0 through the first period, then Pius Suter bumped that lead to 3-0 3:11 into the second.
And then things turned.
In the span of 23 seconds, the Lightning scored two goals.
That wasn’t the end of the dizzying display. Overall, the Lightning scored three goals in four minutes of game time, with Victor Hedman making it 3-3. In all, the Lightning scored four goals against the Blackhawks during the second period to make it 4-3.
Interestingly, the Lightning dealt a lot of their damage against the Blackhawks on the power play — but not really in the major that resulted from that Murphy hit on Cernak. So, to some extent, Chicago can even take something from that.
It wasn’t always pretty, but Chicago kept battling. Frankly, you’re not always going to look pretty against the defending champions anyway.
[A look at Patrick Kane’s career at 400 goals]
Groan all you want at the almost-always-intended “Lightning strikes” puns, but they really can score quickly. And in bunches.
The Lightning flexed their muscles against the Blackhawks some more during the third period, pouring on two more goals.
Both teams will probably rue the occasional sloppy plays. Really, the score could have been even more bloated, if not for some nifty stops by both Andrei Vasilevskiy and Kevin Lankinen.
That’s what happens when you play exciting hockey, and credit the Blackhawks for keeping up with the Lightning more than many expected. The Bolts just pulled away, and eventually left Chicago in the dust.
NBC Sports celebrates Hockey Day in America this Sunday with an NHL quadruple header on NBC and NBCSN, as well as a collection of stories and features which explore hockey’s impact and influence across the U.S. The day is a highlight of NBC Sports’ NHL coverage in March, which includes 30 games over 30 nights.
NBC Hockey Day in America schedule
Devils at Bruins^ – NBCSN – 5 p.m. ET (Watch live) – Brendan Burke and Brian Boucher will be on the call for the game at TD Garden.
Rangers at Penguins^ – NBCSN – 7:30 p.m. ET (Watch live) – John Forslund and Pierre McGuire will be on the call for the game at PPG Paints Arena.
(^Blacked out in local markets: Pittsburgh, Boston, New York City)
For Hockey Day in America stories, click here