Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blackhawks Shutout Lightning, 1-0, in Stanley Cup Rematch

The Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning faced off in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals from just over 4 months ago.  That entire series, until the last 5 minutes of Game 6, never had either team with more than a one goal lead.  This game would be no different.  The Blackhawks beat the Lightning,1-0, in overtime thanks to a highlight reel goal by Captain, Jonathan Toews and the goaltending of Corey Crawford

The first period  was a very defensive-minded game.  The Lightning play a very similar game to the Blackhawks.  Both teams only had 9 shots on goal.  Being off  for four days, while the Lightning played just last night, advantage should have gone to the Lightning, but the Hawks came well prepared (like Quenneville wouldn't have them that way).  Both goalies played well to keep the game scoreless.  Crawford, and the 23 year old Latvian rookie playing in just his 2nd career NHL game, Kristers Gudlivskis made sure of that.

The second period was more of the same.  The Blackhawks had more pressure and more chances in the period, but either they couldn't find the net or Gudlivskis was there to slam the door.  The Kane/Panarin/Anisimov line had some great chances again and continues to be the team's best line.  Crawford had his share of point blank saves as well.  The Blackhawks outshot Tampa Bay 10-4 in the period.

The third period?  Yep, more of the same as both goalies were on their game and the shots were near even (11-8 in favor of the Hawks).  Crawford made a diving glove save on Erik Condra with 2:34 left in the period to send the game to overtime.

Seventeen seconds, (ring a bell Blackhawk fans?), into the overtime, Toews showed once again why he is the best Captain in the NHL. It was his first goal of the season, but the way he got it, was amazing.  Toews, captured a pass at the Tampa Bay blue line, splits the defense and rushes to the net while having his stick hooked, which was going to draw a penalty.  He had the puck poke-checked by Gudlivskis, but still managed to get off a rebound shot before sliding the puck through the legs of Gudlivskis.  Similar to how he was "willing" goals into the net at the end of the regular season last year and in huge playoff games, Toews was not to be denied as he once again delivered to seal another Blackhawks victory.

Notable mentions: Crawford, after having a milestone game last game against the Columbus Blue Jackets where he captures his 150th career win, along with his 4th career assist, collected hist 13th career shutout against Tampa Bay.  Niklas Hjalmarsson is a puck-eater.  Plain and simple.  He took a blast from Lightning defenseman, Jonathan Drouin, and hobbled off limping, yet came back on his next shift.  The guy is underrated and a very important cog to this team.  He had 4 blocked shots tonight.  Rookie, Vincent Hinostroza, played in his 4th straight game.  Although the kid has not made it to the score sheet yet, he's been playing some real good hockey.  The Lightning were limited to just 21 shots on goal with nothing finding the back of the net.  If the Blackhawks defense were in question with Duncan Keith out, this was a quality effort to answer that question.  Viktor Svedberg played 19:25 minutes with 5 blocked shots and Trevor van Riemsdyk played 22:53 minutes and 3 blocked shots.  Huge numbers for those young kids.

Stars Of The Game: 1st - CHI - Corey Crwaford (21 saves, 1.000 SV%), 2nd - CHI - Jonathan Toews (1G), 3rd - TB - Kristers Gudlivskis (32 saves, 0.969 SV%)

Next Game: Monday, October 26th, Home, Versus the Anaheim Ducks


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