If you tuned into the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, along with every thrilling NHL playoff series, it should come to no surprise that the Stanley Cup Final is tied at two games apiece.
The series heads back to Florida, after Brandon Saad tied things back up with a late third period goal Wednesday night, securing the game four win for the Blackhawks by a score of 2-1.
Chicago looks to ride the game four momentum into Amalie Arena Saturday night and return to their home ice up 3-2.
Tampa Bay hopes to recoup to its winning ways after Ben Bishop sat out game four due to an undisclosed injury. The goalie is listed day-to-day but is expected to return at some point. Andrei Vasilevskiy, a 20-year-old rookie filled in for Bishop, making 17 saves in the loss.
Continued stellar play from Saad, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Callahan and Cedric Paquette, has given full proof as to why a winner is tough to predict, with each game decided by one goal.
The back and forth goaltending provided by Corey Crawford and the injury-battling Bishop has exemplified the fact that the series is up for grabs, taken by whatever goalie is feeling hot that particular night. The question around game five, however, will be whether Bishop is a go.
Another intriguing storyline throughout the series is the disappearance of Steven Stamkos. The NHL’s second-leading goal scorer during the regular season has been a non-factor for the Lighting as he has yet to contribute a single point during the final.
Stamkos was given the opportunity to end his Stanley Cup woes in game four, but still couldn’t find the back of the twine in two noticeable chances.
The Lightning will likely continue to rely on Callahan and Paquette if Stamkos decides to continue not to show up.
The Blackhawks have trailed 2-1 in nine of 19 playoff series since 2009. When they have won Game 4, they are 5-0 in those series. If history repeats itself, Lord Stanley will find its way to the city of Chicago once again.
With the up-tempo and alternating play that has been consistent throughout not only the postseason but most notably this cup final, it would come of no shock to NHL fans that the series will return back to Tampa for game seven.