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Writing on the Walls: Lightning 6, Blackhawks 3

The two-time defending Cup champions displayed why they’re capable of grabbing No. 3.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

A close game for 40 minutes become the opposite of that after a 32-second span of the third period, as the Chicago Blackhawks lost 6-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night at the United Center.

Chicago controlled play for much of the first period and that included the game’s first tally, provided by Dylan Strome:

The Blackhawks had a few other chances that could’ve added to the lead, including a few shots off the post and a ridiculous save by Tampa goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy with the knob of his stick that thwarted a Kirby Dach scoring chance.

The Blackhawks led 1-0 to started the second but Taylor Raddysh scored 1:09 into the second to tie the score. Chicago wasn’t done, though, with Patrick Kane restoring his team’s lead five minutes later:

The next five goals were scored by the Lightning

Two of those goals came in the second period, as defensemen Victor Hedman and Cal Foote made it a 3-2 Lightning lead to start the third.

And then an absurd sequence unfolded in the third, as Tampa scored three times in 32 seconds to erase any notions of a Blackhawks comeback. The trio of goals set a Lightning franchise record:

Alex DeBrincat stemmed the tide of Tampa goals with a redirect of a Dylan Strome point shot at the 7:05 mark of the third to make it a three-goal deficit once again:

But that was as close as the Blackhawks would get on the scoreboard, and Vasilevskiy being one of the best goaltenders in the world certainly didn’t help matters:

Let’s wrap up this weekend:

Notes

  • The Blackhawks may not be as good of a team as the Lightning. More on this story as it develops.
  • Sometimes the most obvious narrative is also the correct one. That theory proved true after the first period when the Hawks were up 1-0 but a few close calls away from being up by two or even three. And as soon as that period ended, it felt like the Lightning’s wake up call would arrive soon — and it did.
  • I’d like to plant a few more flags in the camp of “keep Dylan Strome for next season.” The line with Strome, Kane and DeBrincat was electric. (GET IT?!)
  • It didn’t even feel like the Hawks played all that bad in this game. Just a couple of breakdowns in a 32-second span that turned a close game into a lopsided one. If the Blackhawks played with the same level of quality in the other 59:22 against the rest of the team’s in the NHL, they’d probably be playoff contenders.
  • Speaking of breakdowns, though, the Jake McCabe turnover just before Corey Perry’s goal was especially egregious.

It’s worth noting that McCabe is playing in his first season back after a pretty serious knee injury that ended his 2021 season. Is this season a blip on the radar or indicative of what McCabe is going to be like for the rest of his career? It’s a good question that’ll only be answered with time. Given that McCabe is under contract for three more seasons, though, we sure as hell hope that it’s more of the former and less of the latter.

  • At least the Hawks didn’t take a penalty for too many men?

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Victor Hedman (TBL) — 2 goals
  2. Mikhail Sergachev (TBL) — 1 goal, 2 assists
  3. Cal Foote (TBL) — 1 goal, 1 assist

What’s next

The Blackhawks stay home to host the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night at the United Center for a 7:30 p.m. start.