The Tampa Bay Lightning entered game two of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs in a must-win situation. Having already lost game one to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Lightning faced a deficit in the series to a talented team. If TB fell behind 0-2, with two losses on their home-ice, then the championship series would be all but lost heading over to the windy city.
However the Lightning delivered a win in the clutch on Saturday night defeating Chicago 4-3 in a game that contrasted game one quite sharply. Neither team had much for offense in the series opener however both teams were effective on the offensive end in game two.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the first period on a goal by Cedric Paquette. Chicago would not only answer back but take the lead in the second period on a pair of goals by Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Tervainen. The middle frame would prove to be the most active as Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson also had goals, ones that gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead heading into the intermission.
The two teams, in the final period, would exchange goals to give TB a 4-3 win. John Garrison scored the winner on the powerplay at the 8:49 mark of the third, only his second goal of the post-season.
Game two will likely be remembered for the offbeat goalie changes on Tampa Bay’s part. The Lightning made 26 saves on the night but those were spread across two goals. Ben Bishop logged over 50 minutes of ice team while Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB’s backup, had just under 10.
It was not made clear why Bishop had left the game, something he did on two occasions. But speculation on the matter, among other possible explanations, might include a weak tummy bug that caused the need for unpredictable comfort breaks.
Despite the loss in a game that Chicago could have won, the ‘hawks can’t be feeling too badly about the situation that they are in. A team on the road often looks for a split in the opening two games of a playoff series. Chicago got that with their win in game one and they now head to the United Center knowing that if they defend home ice in games three and four then they will build a 3-1 series lead.
Game three of the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals will be played on Monday night with a start time of 8pm ET. Despite the loss the Blackhawks remain series favorites, priced at -150 to win the Cup outright (Source: Ladbrokes).