There will be more to discuss from the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-2 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, but first, let's just marvel at Patrick Kane for a second. The guy struggled in the shootout for a over year even though he's got some of the best hands in the game, to the point that you wondered what exactly was going wrong.
Of course, we know the answer now: nothing, more or less. Kane remains as spectacular a finisher as pretty much any player in the game, and reminded everyone of that Tuesday with his incredible backhanded shootout game-winner on Ben Bishop:
Be still, my hockey-loving heart. As much as I love everyone on this team, nobody makes the 'Hawks more entertaining than Kaner.
As for the game itself, the Blackhawks started with their usual possession dominance early, then allowed the Lightning to turn the tides in the second half of the game. Chicago finished with an overall shot advantage, 39-27, but the final 5-on-5 Fenwick numbers had Chicago at 51 percent, just ahead of the opponents.
The opening goal came from the Lightning while short-handed -- the fourth time the 'Hawks gave allowed a shorty this season -- and that's obviously something the team needs to address. It just doesn't make a ton of sense for arguably the best defensive team in the league to be giving up goals with the man advantage, but it's happened several times already.
Luckily the 'Hawks responded from there in second period before things got out of hand, with Brad Richards scoring his third goal of the season right after a power play expired. Bishop got knocked over by Kris Versteeg on the play, but it wasn't a penalty as the winger had been pushed by a Lightning defenseman.
The two teams then traded goals in the third period, with Marcus Kruger scoring on a gorgeous deflection and Nikita Kucherov matching thanks to a pinpoint pass from Steven Stamkos. Things settled in from there, with scoring chances going both ways but neither team able to capitalize.
The overtime was pretty ugly, with the 'Hawks mustering just one shot as the Lightning kept things in Chicago's end most of the time, but Corey Crawford stood strong and fought off chances. Crawford also stepped up in the shootout, stopping all three one-on-one shots, including Stamkos' wrister to clinch the win.
That makes Kane the hero, but only after a solid teamwide effort against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. It's the first win against the Lightning for the 'Hawks since Dec. 13, 2009, so that should tell you a little about how tough a matchup Tampa Bay typically is.
The 'Hawks next play Friday night on the road against the Red Wings. Seven of the team's next eight games will be away from the United Center, so the team better get comfortable away from home.