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Not Within Arms Length: Lightning 5, Blackhawks 2

The Blackhawks kept things close against the defending champs early in Friday’s game but were unable to come away with a victory.

Chicago Blackhawks v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

After a disastrous 4-0 loss to the Panthers on Thursday night, the Blackhawks looked to right the ship against the Lightning at Amalie Arena on Friday evening.

But the back end of their Florida road trip did not go as planned, either, as the Blackhawks lost 5-2 to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

Early on, the Lightning were awarded an early power play after the Blackhawks took a too-many-men penalty. Although the Hawks killed the penalty, Tampa Bay’s strong cycling in the offensive zone led to a Steven Stamkos goal shortly after even strength play resumed.

Minutes later, Tampa Bay added to their lead, thanks to some nifty passing and a high-danger chance for Brayden Point.

The Blackhawks got on the board after Kirby Dach set up Calvin de Haan for an absolute blast from the point, making the game 2-1 in favor of the Lightning.

Before the end of the first period, Alex DeBrincat scored his 39th goal of the season, which tied the game at two.

The second-period scoring opened up midway through it when Ross Colton’s goal put the Bolts up 3-2.

Later in the second, Nick Paul sent a highlight reel pass to Colton, setting up his second goal of the period, making it 4-2.

With the goalie pulled late, the Hawks were not able to take advantage of an extra attacker. Poetically, Brandon Hagel scored an empty-net goal to seal a 5-2 win for the Lightning.

Notes

  • This went as well as expected. Both teams were a bit sloppy throughout the first 40 minutes. There were a lot of unnecessary penalties and the ice looked pretty bad. But at the end of the day, Tampa parked the bus in the final period and showed that they can take control when needed.
  • In true Fulton Reed fashion, de Haan lit the lamp with an absolute laser beam from the point. We like him and it’s nice to see him get rewarded.
  • Since the Bolts ditched the black and silver, I’ve criticized them for looking too similar to Toronto. But now that I think of it, they’ve been having quite a bit more success wearing the white and blue in recent years.
  • Nick Paul’s incredible pass will be shown on Lightning pre-game video packages for years to come.
  • It feels like Seth Jones played every other shift. Understandably, he’s the guy who has to carry the work load, especially with Conner Murphy out. But this blue line is not talented enough to lean on Jones alone. Between the Hawks pipeline, the draft and free agency, this seems like the primary area that needs to be addressed at the pro level. Tampa Bay is a prime example of what a team can achieve with a great defense.
  • Stu Grimson rules.
  • Kevin Lankinen looked like a fish out of water at times, positionally speaking. However, he saved 38 of 42 shots. The Blackhawks only put 23 shots on net in total. This is familiar territory for the Hawks, but Lankinen deserves a nod as this Lightning team is no joke.
  • It's Wrestlemania weekend. hoo-ray for that, I guess?

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Ross Colton (TB) — 2 goals, 1 assist
  2. Nick Paul (TB) — 2 assists, that pass
  3. Brayden Point (TB) — 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots on goal

What’s next

The Blackhawks host the Coyotes at the United Center for a 6 p.m. puck drop on Sunday night.