Blackhawks drop wild game 6-5 to Tampa Bay Lightning in OT
The Blackhawks don't often have wild barn-burner games, but Thursday night's game was a doozy of an 6-5 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Florida.
Chicago has trailed other teams for just a handful of minutes this season. For once, the other team leapt out to a 2-0 lead early. Matthew Carle put the Lightning on the board with a power play goal 6:28 in the first.
Adding insult to injury, the Bolts took the dreaded "too many men" bench penalty - and not only did they outplay the Blackhawks on the PK, but scored against them as well, with Nate Thompson making it 2-0.
Bryan Bickell camped on Ben Bishop's doorstop, and scooped up a rebound to put in the goal that would get the Blackhawks on the board nine minutes into the second period. Marian Hossa would follow 1:36 later with a redirect of a Patrick Sharp shot.
Steven Stamkos then did what he does best, and fired in a rocket to pull the Lightning ahead again with 2:39 left in the second. Not to be outdone, Chicago's Patrick Kane fired one in unassisted to tie the game to close out the second period.
Going into the third, the question hung there: could the Blackhawks manage to find their scoring touch in the third? They certainly did, with Andrew Shaw tipping in a Kane shot to give Chicago their first lead in the game on a PPG. While the visitors held the home team off the scoresheet for nearly half a period, Victor Hedman tied it up once again with a feed from Martin St. Louis.
Michal Handzus committed an odd penalty - covering up the puck after the faceoff - and Stamkos grabbed his second of the night to put the Lightning back in the lead, 5-4.
At that point in the game, things took a turn for the weird. Jonathan Toews was stripped of the puck at center ice, and Carle threw a pass back towards Tampa's goalie to kill a little time. But the puck hit his teammate, Radko Gudas, and somehow ended up past Ben Bishop. Toews, as the last Blackhawk to touch the puck, was credited with the goal, and suddenly, it was a tie game again with 1:49 to go.
St. Louis scored early in overtime to give Tampa the win, 6-5.
The Blackhawks were 51% on the faceoff dot, and had 43 SOG. Additionally, they had 16 A/B and 13 MS. By comparison, Tampa Bay was 25 + 7/8. Chicago is good at puck possession, but they've been struggling with inconsistency all season so far, with the exception of the Toronto game.
- Nikolai Khabiublin had some cracks in the "Bulin Wall" tonight. In just his second start for the season, he let in 6 goals total, including 2 power play goals and 1 short-handed goal, for a .760 sv% on just 25 shots against. His stats drop to .818 sv% and 3.97 GAA, but he is 1-0-1. As backup goaltender, if he can give the team points regularly - even in strange or ugly games - then he is getting the job done.
- By comparison, St. Louis-raised Ben Bishop is looking more and more like the franchise goalie he is expected to become. His record improves to 6-1-0 with .915 sv% and 2.53 GAA. His save % for the night was just .884 after letting in 5 goals, but he also faced 43 shots against.
- Chicago's Michael Kostka is out "4-6 weeks" with an unspecified "lower body injury". He has been spotted wearing a walking boot.
- Chicago is now 6-1-3 (15 pts), putting them second in the Central.
- Tampa is now 6-3-0 (12 puts), putting them ahead of Montréal for first place among Eastern Conference wild card teams.
- Chicago AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs won tonight in Toronto, 3-2 over the Marlies. Jeremy Morin had the GWG, and Antti Raanta was in net. Rockford next plays at home on Saturday, October 26 vs. the Charlotte Checkers
- Chicago ECHL affiliate Toledo Walleye host their season opener this Saturday, October 26
1) Martin St. Louis - TBL
2) Steven Stamkos - TBL
3) Patrick Kane - CHI
The Blackhawks' next game is Saturday, October 26, hosting the Minnesota Wild at the United Center, 7 p.m. CDT. The game will be broadcast on WGN in the Chicago market and Fox Sports North in Minnesota.