We are only three games into what has been a fantastic 2015 Stanley Cup Final between the Lightning and Blackhawks but it is already amusing to think back on how many people thought that Tampa Bay had basically no shot to beat Chicago in this series. The Blackhawks won Game 1 in Tampa Bay’s Amalie Arena, 2-1, but the Lightning took Game 2, 4-3, and then rallied for a 3-2 win at the United Center in Game 3 on Monday to grab a 2-1 series lead.
Based on the fact that all three games have been decided by one goal, it’ll be surprising if this ends in either five or six games. Futhermore, an epic seven-game series would be a great way to end an excellent postseason for the NHL.
There were plenty of heroes for the Lightning in Game 3: Ryan Callahan (1 goal, 1 assist), who reappeared after a very quiet playoff run, Cedric Paquette who had the game-winning goal (easily the biggest of his career), Victor Hedman (2 assists) who has been brilliant the entire postseason and provided the assist on Paquette’s tap-in, and Ben Bishop who made 36 saves in the victory.
Attention now turns to Game 4 on Wednesday (8 p.m., NBCSN). If the Blackhawks go down 3-1 in the series, they are the last team that you would ever count out ,but beating the Lightning three times in a row at this point is something they do not want to contemplate. Believe it or not, Patrick Kane has been held scoreless so far in this series while Jonathan Toews only has one assist. It is hard to imagine that they will be kept off the scoresheet much longer.
“I feel like we had a lot of chances, especially early in the game,” noted Toews after Game 3. “Late in the game, we gave up those odd-man rushes. We’ve been talking about that and they ended up in the back of the net.”