Game two of the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals will not be played until Saturday night. Heading into the game, the Tampa Bay Lightning, hosts of game two, find themselves down 0-1 in the championship series. In battling back from that small deficit the Lightning will need to put the bad memory of game one behind them.
On Wednesday night Tampa Bay held a slim 1-0 lead for the vast majority of game one. However two third period goals, by peripheral scoring threats, saw that lead both diminished and then overcome as Chicago stole game one 2-1.
The result couldn’t have made the Lightning lockerroom that great of a place to be post-game one. The morning after doesn’t appear to be any more joyous.
Brian Boyle, quoted in an NHL.com article of Corey Long’s, stated:
“It’s definitely disappointing. You wake up in the morning today, you should be a little angry … that we had a chance to take Game 1.”
In a cruel twist, the Lightning will have plenty of time to reflect on their game one loss. Normally playoff series follow a game-day/rest-day pattern but in the case of the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals, the second game of the series will not start until Saturday night. The extra day of rest will postpone Tampa Bay’s chance to atone for the bad loss on Wednesday and give commentators all the more time to harp on the choke.
In game two, one that is scheduled for 7:15pm ET on Saturday, the ‘hawks are actually considered straight-up underdogs with numerous sportsbooks. Bet365 and William Hill, as examples, both have the Blackhawks priced at +110 while the Lightning come in as -129 favorites. This is despite Chicago’s proven ability to beat even the very best teams on the road under difficult circumstances.
Chicago had a solid 24-16-1 record as a visitor during the regular season. However their recent play as a road team has been even more impressive. Besides the game one steal from Tampa Bay, Chicago also beat the Anaheim Ducks in California in game seven of the Western Conference Finals to clinch the series. Furthermore Chicago had two wins on the road in their second round series against the Minnesota Wild.
Chicago, winners of three straight, are bigger favorites to win the 2015 Stanley Cup than most people realize. Even though the playoffs so far have featured numerous close series, I don’t see the Finals being close at all. Look for Chicago to take game two on Saturday night, a result that would set the ‘hawks up for a sweep of the outmatched Lightning.