The Blackhawks lost 3-2 in overtime to the Lightning on Thursday night in the first game of a three-game set at the United Center. It was the first time this season the Blackhawks picked up a point in the standings against Tampa Bay.
The game started with a scoreless first period. The Blackhawks got the game’s first power-play opportunity but failed to capitalize, registering two shots. Chicago had the shot advantage through the first period, 11-9. The Blackhawks also took care of the puck better than the Lightning in the first period, with three takeaways to Tampa’s two and four giveaways to six.
Ryan Carpenter opened the scoring more than seven minutes into the second period as he scored shorthanded:
Ryan Carpenter scored a shorthanded goal to end Andrei Vasilevskiy's shutout streak.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 5, 2021
Brandon Hagel#Blackhawks 1, #GoBolts 0 pic.twitter.com/ItMTJhDzIx
That’s Carpenter’s fourth goal of the season and third in two games, as he scored twice on Sunday against Detroit. It’s the second shorthanded goal the Blackhawks have scored this season and first the Lightning have allowed. It was also the first goal Andrei Vasilevskiy had given up in 228:09 of ice time.
That goal gave Chicago its first lead in three games against the Lightning this season.
Later in the second period Alex DeBrincat doubled that lead, deflecting a shot from Patrick Kane (Connor Murphy got the secondary assist):
Alex DeBrincat redirected Patrick Kane's shot from the point to extend Chicago's lead.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 5, 2021
Connor Murphy#Blackhawks 2, #GoBolts 0 pic.twitter.com/E6jzHRRpHt
DeBrincat now has a team-leading 12 goals this season.
The Lightning would answer with a shorthanded goal of their own 1:04 into the third period, when Anthony Cirelli deflected a shot from the point by former Blackhawk Jan Rutta — the second shorthanded goal the Blackhawks have allowed this season.
Tampa Bay tied the game 111 seconds after their first goal as Steven Stamkos got a shot past Kevin Lankinen.
Those two goals in the first three minutes of the third period ended the scoring during regulation, sending the game to overtime in a 2-2 tie.
In the dying moments of overtime, Alex Killorn ended the game with just 0.1 on the clock left, as the Lightning won 3-2.
Victor Hedman scored at the buzzer. #TBLightning wins it 3-2 in overtime. pic.twitter.com/3IOPsDv3JB— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 5, 2021
The goal was initially credited to Hedman, who took the point shot that Killorn redirected.
- The Blackhawks played some great hockey in the first 40 minutes. They outshot the Lightning 30-27 at 5-on-5, with 11 high-danger chances for to three against. It was some of the best defensive efforts the Blackhawks have mustered this season, and Lankinen saved all five of the high-danger shots he faced. It may have been the best start to a game the Blackhawks have seen.
- That’s not to say the third period was bad. The Blackhawks gave up just one high-danger chance against and had one for. With seven shots for and 11 against, it just wasn’t up to the par they had set earlier in the game. In most games for the Blackhawks this season, that’s a perfectly acceptable period.
- The biggest mismatch between these two teams may be the Lightning’s power play against Chicago’s penalty kill. The Blackhawks are a bottom-10 unit shorthanded while the Lightning are seventh in the league on the man advantage. Chicago was able to play disciplined hockey and only took one penalty. They scored instead of Tampa Bay, giving up just one shot against and taking two. Doing that is a good thing.
- The Blackhawks power play turned out to be a bigger liability than their penalty kill, especially in the third period. In 1:55 on the man advantage in the third period, the Blackhawks had zero shots for and one against, which resulted in a goal against and cost them the momentum in that period. Chicago needs to be better on the power play, but the Lightning are the best penalty kill in the league for a reason.
- All four forward lines were good in this outing. Each had an expected goal percentage (xGF%) above 50 percent (the lowest was DeBrincat-Pius Suter-Kane with a 51.06). Two — Dominik Kubalik, David Kampf and Brandon Hagel and Philipp Kurashev, Carl Soderberg and Mattias Janmark — allowed zero high-danger chances against.
- Adam Boqvist played great hockey, including breaking up an odd-man rush on the man advantage one shift before the Lightning scored shorthanded. He led all defensemen in this game with a 79.06 xGF%. While he was on ice for the second goal against (and the third) neither was truly his fault. He could have been better served with more minutes — he finished last on the blue line with 16:40.
- This was not a great development game for the Blackhawks, following a pattern this season. Neither Boqvist nor Ian Mitchell played much if at all during the final minutes. Boqvist had just one shift near the end of regulation while Mitchell had none, nor did Mitchell get any ice time in OT, as indicated on the shift chart below:
- Alex Killorn (TBL) — game-winning goal, two shots
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — goal, 0.29 expected goals
- Steven Stamkos (TBL) — goal, 0.21 expected goals
The Blackhawks face the Lightning again Friday at 7 p.m. in the second game of this back-to-back set.