Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blackhawks at Tampa Bay
Game 5 2-1 Win Recap

by Patrick Stankus

With the series tied at two, the Stanley Cup Final shifted to Tampa for Game 5. There's no doubt the extra day off between games 4 and 5 was welcome for the Blackhawks, as it was very apparent after Game 4 that the gas in the tank was running low. The other glaring question leading into Game 5 was who would be in net for the Lightning. As they took to the ice for pregame warmups, the question was answered and Ben Bishop was in net.

Judging by the start of the game, the extra day off was clearly paying dividends for the Blackhawks. They came out with a sense of urgency, and energy to their game. It was quite obvious that this was their best start to any game this series. Despite the start, Corey Crawford tried his best to hand the Lightning an early lead. Crawford turned the puck over to Kucherov, but was able to scramble back in net and make the save as Kucherov got a mouthful of post. Just minutes later, Ben Bishop mirrored Crawford's idiotic play. Bishop came out to the top of the circle to play the puck, but Victor Hedman was also skating back to play the puck, and the two collided. The end result was Patrick Sharp skating in for an uncontested goal to put the Hawks up. As the period went on, the Lightning started gaining momentum as the Hawks looked like they took their foot off the gas. At the end of the period though, the score would remain 1-0 in favor of the Hawks.

The second period started out with the Blackhawks having some sustained pressure, but it was short lived. As play wore on, the Lightning started to gain momentum, and were able to sustain it throughout the period. With the ice tilted in their favor, the Lightning were able to capitalize midway through the second period. Jason Garrison found a loose put in the offensive zone, and flung a cross ice pass to a wide open Valterri Filppula who tied the game at one. With all the momentum on their side, Tampa also had a chance on a power play, but the Blackhawks penalty kill was able to come through. In the final minutes of the second period, the Hawks would have their biggest offensive surge, but they were unable to get a puck past Bishop and the score would remain tied at one after two periods.

The final twenty minutes can be summed up in four words, The Corey Crawford Show. Crawford simply stood on his head in the third period. Just two minutes into the third, Crawford made a huge save on Brenden Morrow which resulted in springing the Hawks up the ice. Kris Versteeg had a step on the Tampa defense, and was in on Bishop, but he whiffed on the shot attempt. All was not lost as Versteeg was able to get the loose puck to the center of the ice and a trailing Antoine Vermette hammered it home to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. From there on out it was Corey Crawford all day in net, and the Hawks were able to hang on for the 2-1 win, and now lead the series 3-2.

The Good
- The fourth line of Shaw-Kruger-Desjardins was fucking phenomenal. They pressured the Lightning all night, and had numerous chances throughout the game. It sucks they didn't get on the score sheet because they worked their ass off all night and deserve a lot of praise.
- Corey Crawford was simply excellent. In the end he ended the night with 31 saves.
- Another individual performance that deserves praise is Niklas Hjalmarsson. Apparently Hjalmarsson mean "shot blocking machine" in Swedish. He had 7 in total tonight.
- This was by far the best start to any game of the series for the Blackhawks. While they were able to lead after one, Tampa Bay kept coming and coming as the Hawks looked to set back as the period went on.
- Patrick Sharp got a goal gift wrapped for him as a result of a lack of communication between Ben Bishop and Victor Hedman. Hopefully this will give Sharp some confidence despite the fact I could have probably scored that goal.

The Bad
- I'm nitpicking here, but Teuvo had a chance on a breakaway in the second period, and instead of trying skate in a make move, he decided to take a 30 foot wrist shot. You'd like to see someone with his skill make a little bit more of a move on a chance like that.
- The Blackhawks were given an early chance to put a huge dent in the Lightning with a power play opportunity in the first minute of the second period. To no one's surprise though, nothing came from it.

The Ugly
- Apparently Corey Crawford hasn't gotten the memo that he isn't a very good puck playing goalie. Once again he turned the puck over while playing the puck, but luckily he was able to stop Kucherov's shot. Nevertheless, you still think goalies should play the puck?
- Supposedly TVR played tonight. I honestly didn't even notice him. I noticed Timonen more, which should say a lot. TVR played 8:01 and Timonen 5:05.


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