Wed, Jun 10, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Lightning rally to beat Blackhawks 3-2

EVENLY MATCHED:Despite outshooting Tampa and controlling play for most of the match, a sloppy defense has taught Chicago that a few mistakes can be decisive


The Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford, left, stops a shot by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ondrej Palat in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in Chicago on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Cedric Paquette scored the go-ahead goal, while Ben Bishop made an impressive return to the net as Tampa Bay rallied to beat Chicago 3-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Forward Paquette redirected a feed from defenseman Victor Hedman past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford for the winner with 3 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the third period as the Lightning seized a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“This was a huge win for us,” Hedman said. “It swung the momentum back to us and gave us home-ice advantage back.”

Bishop had an impressive performance as he finished with 36 saves on Monday night. Bishop was questionable for the contest after exiting Saturday’s Game 2 late in the third with an undisclosed problem.

Backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had to enter and finish the game, which the Lightning won 4-3.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper again declined to reveal the problem that caused Bishop to leave Game 2 and said he might be willing to discuss it once the series is over.

“We will have to wait for whenever this series ends for that. Sorry, sorry,” Cooper said.

Ryan Callahan and Ondrej Palat also scored for the Lightning, who are now 8-3 on the road in the National Hockey League post-season this year.

“It is a tough building to win in, but we weathered the storm and Bishop was huge,” Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said. “We have a lot of confidence in each other and it is amazing to see how guys have stepped up at different times throughout the whole season, not just in the playoffs.”

Brandon Saad and Brad Richards scored for the Blackhawks, who have lost two games in a row for the first time in the playoffs this season.

Hedman did most of the work on the winner as he carried the puck into the Blackhawks’ zone then drew both Chicago defensemen, Brent Seabrook and Kyle Cumiskey, to him before finding Paquette open in the slot.

For the second game in a row, a mistake by Chicago forward Patrick Sharp was partly to blame for the game-winning goal. In Game 2, a bad penalty by Sharp led to a Tampa power-play go-ahead goal, while on Monday he was too slow in getting back to his own zone, which allowed Canadian Paquette to get open for the pass from Hedman.

Goaltender Crawford finished with 29 saves and found himself out of position and unable to slide across the crease to get a piece of Paquette’s puck.

Two goals, one by each team, just 13 seconds apart in the third set the tone in favor of the Lightning.

Saad scored with just over four minutes gone in the third period to put Chicago ahead 2-1, but the Blackhawks lacked the killer instinct to put the game away.

The Lightning answered 13 seconds later at 4 minutes, 27 seconds, when Palat out battled the Chicago defense for a loose puck in the crease and swatted it past Crawford to even the score.

Asked if the Palat goal was the turning point in the game, Crawford replied: “You could say that.”

Chicago outshot Tampa 38-32 and controlled the play for much of the game, but some sloppy play in their own end hurt them.

The two teams are so evenly matched that Chicago are learning a few mistakes are ending up deciding each game.

“Once we tighten up on certain things in our own end then we can get more offense,” Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said.

Chicago have also got little offense from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, with the dynamic duo registering just a single point between them in the series so far.

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