The Tampa Bay Lightning look to bounce back from a disappointing home loss in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night at Amalie Arena in Game 2. The defeat was a particularly tough pill for the Lightning to swallow after the Blackhawks’ mounted a comeback late in the third period.
Despite the 2-1 defeat, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was pleased with his squad’s performance, and even after re-watching the game.
"Video was pretty much the way we saw it,” Cooper said. “I thought we did a really good job. I can't sit up here and say, 'Oh, Chicago outplayed us.' Did they deserve to win? I think it was a pretty even game."
Most of the statistics were rather even. Chicago took 21 shots, while Tampa Bay took 23. The Lightning gave the puck away on 12 occasions while the Blackhawks turned it over 11 times. Faceoffs went in favor of the Tampa Bay, 30-27.
The goalie matchup between the Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford and the Lightning’s Ben Bishop was also competitive.
"[Crawford] had a good game, made some big saves when he had to," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "Our goalie did the same. I think when you get to this time of the year goalies are going to be playing well. I know a lot of people have talked about all the offense, the firepower in this series. But I think you saw last night two teams willing to play well defensively, and that starts with your goaltenders. [Crawford] was no different.”
The Lightning will be hoping Tyler Johnson breaks out of his slump. The dynamic forward has not scored in five games. It is raising concerns considering the depth that the Blackhawks have up front.
It’s been a high-scoring postseason for Joel Quenneville’s squad. The Blackhawks have scored at least two goals in five straight games, which is vital in the postseason when goalies tend to raise their game. Leading into the Stanley Cup Finals, the Blackhaws have averaged nearly 3.3 goals per game. When Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane isn’t scoring, someone else picks up the slack
"It's been that way all playoffs, to be honest with you,” said Kane. “It seems like every game, someone new steps up, someone else is tearing it.
“I think we all kind of want to play as hard as we can and take advantage when the opportunity is yours, but that's why this team has been so successful — we have that depth, we have players shifting in all the time, players scoring big goals. It's not like we're just counting on one or two guys."
Start Time: 7:15 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Live Stream: Available at NBC Live Extra here
Spread: Lightning -1.5
Over/under: 5 goals
Prediction: Tampa over Chicago, 3-1