The woes for the Blackhawks continued Saturday as they fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 after allowing a three-goal outburst in the second period.
Although they had one of their better scoring chance games of the season, the Blackhawks were like Oprah handing out goals as gifts with all of their defensive breakdowns.
Brayden Point opened the scoring just over six minutes into the first period. The Blackhawks failed to clear the puck, Duncan Keith lost his man, and Point cleaned up Alex Killorn’s rebound.
The rest of the first period was fairly uneventful outside of a Carl Soderberg shorthanded chance midway through. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned his shot away, making it look easy.
The Lightning scored again at the start of the second period to go up 2-0. Alex DeBrincat and Yanni Gourde were awarded matching cross-checking penalties early, and Anthony Cirelli turned Keith inside-out to get in-close alone 4-on-4. Mikhail Sergachev picked up his 100th career assist on the goal as well.
Anthony Cirelli extended the lead 1:53 into the second period when he lifted a backhand shot over Malcolm Subban at 4-on-4.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 20, 2021
Victor Hedman#GoBolts 2, #Blackhawks 0 pic.twitter.com/lg3kQM5aBn
As score effects took hold, the Blackhawks did have some extended pressure against Vasilevskiy, but it’s the Lightning that were rewarded with another goal. A puck bounced to a streaking Gourde who shoveled in his own rebound to put the Lightning up 3-0 with 7:45 to go in the middle frame.
Malcolm Subban made a few impressive saves in the second period, including one against Ross Colton, who scored the game-winning goal Thursday.
And the Blackhawks weren’t without some good chances, but Vasilevsky is the Vezina front-runner for a reason, and he turned everything away in the first 40 minutes, including a Patrick Kane breakaway.
The Blackhawks also failed to convert on 1:23 of 5-on-3 power play time in the second period, generating six shots, but none that were particularly dangerous. They were 0-7 on the power play for the entire game.
Before the period of disappointment could close, the Lightning scored to go up 4-0 with 1:39 left. For some inexplicable reason, Calvin de Haan decided to leave Steven Stamkos completely unattended and he one-timed the puck into the net.
Debrincat would keep the Blackhawks from being shutout, scoring about five minutes into the third period. After winning a puck battle behind the Lightning net, Dominik Kubalik passed to Debrincat in the slot who beat Vasilevsky glove side.
The rest of the third period ended on a whimper as the Blackhawks only mustered four other shots on goal. It was the Blackhawks fourth straight loss and sixth in their last seven games. Their lead for fourth place in the division has shrunk to only two points over the Blue Jackets, who have a game in hand.
- At least this road trip is over.
- Victor Hedman (TBL) — 3 assists
- Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL) — 30 saves, .968 save percentage
- Steven Stamkos (TBL) — 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks face the Panthers on Tuesday at United Center for a 7 p.m. start.