The Lightning's Game 3 win: Records were broken, and so was Chicago

click to enlarge Victor Hedman crosses the center line with the puck in Game 2 at Amalie Arena. - Nicole Abbett
Nicole Abbett
Victor Hedman crosses the center line with the puck in Game 2 at Amalie Arena.


The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 2-1 Stanley Cup Final series lead over the Blackhawks last night after winning Game 3. Eight of the past 10 games between the Blackhawks and Lightning have been decided by one goal dating to March 9, 2011 (CHI: 2-4-4, TBL: 8-1-1), including the opening three games of the Stanley Cup Final.

Bishop, who looked to be off to a very labored start, helped guide the team to a 3-2 victory. While the team is still being very hush-hush about what’s wrong with him (can you really blame them?), everyone could see that last night’s performance was creaky early on. He had a hard time getting up after a few plays, especially in the 1st, though whatever ailment he’s contending with thankfully loosened up as the game went on.

Bishop agrees, saying, “I felt good. The first period, probably a few too many rebounds there. As the game went on, the guys did a great job of clearing those out. As the game went on, I felt better, more comfortable. Some big blocked shots there at the end. Just a good team win all around. Obviously probably wasn't our best first, but I thought we got better as the game went on.”

And now let’s talk about Lightning’s Victor Hedman. Just over five minutes into the 1st, Hedman set up Ryan Callahan with what could be one of the most perfect goals in hockey: Hedman, from behind the his own net, sliced the puck 120 feet down the ice to Callahan, who then rocketed it up and under the bar past Blackhawk goalie Crawford, scoring the first goal of the game. Hedman, who also set up the game-winning goal, recorded a pair of assists, setting a pair of franchise playoff records in the process. His assist on Ryan Callahan's first-period goal was the 20th of his playoff career, passing Dan Boyle for the most ever by a Lightning defenseman. His centering feed to goal-scorer Cedric Paquette on the game-winner with 3:11 remaining in the third period was his 23rd career playoff point, passing Boyle (3-19-22 in 45 GP) for most career playoff points by a Tampa Bay blueliner.

Blackhawks’ Brad Richards scored the first goal against the Lightning during a power play to tie the game at 1. Richards, who won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in ’04, ended the Lightning’s road shutout streak. The game was tied 1-1 throughout the 2nd.

Just over four minutes into the 3rd, Chicago forward Brandon Saad scored, yielding a 2-1 lead for the Blackhawks. Thirteen seconds later, Tampa Bay forward Ondrej Palat responded, tying the game back at 2. The 13 seconds between goals is three off of the Stanley Cup Final record for fastest two goals by both teams (10 seconds), set in 1936 and equaled in 1947.

Lightning forward Cedric Paquette scored his 10th go-ahead goal, which was ultimately the game-winning goal, with less than five minutes left on the clock. For Paquette, it was his third career playoff goal and first game-winner.

This is the first time since April that the Chicago Blackhawks have lost back-to-back games. Chicago’s big hitters, Kane, Toews, and Hossa (who missed an open net late in the 3rd), have been a little lusterless on the ice.

The next game will be played Wednesday night in Chicago at the United Center. 

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