Lightning rally past Blackhawks for OT win
TAMPA, Fla. — Chicago built a 2-0 lead by keeping the Tampa Bay power play in check Wednesday night, but the Lightning rallied for overtime and got one more power play, with Brayden Point scoring for a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks at Amalie Arena.
“Down 2-0 to a team as good as Chicago, it was a great bounce-back performance in the second and third and in overtime for our group,” said Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos, who got the assist on the four-on-three goal with 1:35 remaining in overtime. “Now we go on the road feeling a little better about ourselves.”
The Lightning tied the game in the first minute of the third, then held on to go to overtime. Chicago’s Patrick Kane, who already had two goals, got a breakaway in overtime, but Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made another stellar save to keep his team alive.
“We talked about if you’re going to make a move on him, he’s got such long legs,” Kane said. “You’re going to have to get it up. I made the move I wanted, maybe got a little too close, and he made a nice save with his leg there.”
Tampa Bay (16-3-2) avoided back-to-back losses, while Chicago (10-8-3) saw a two-game win streak come to an end. Even though the Blackhawks picked up a tough point on the road, Kane saw a missed opportunity for much more.
“You can also look at it that we had a 2-0 lead and gave that up. It’s tough. Would have been nice to score there on the breakaway in overtime,” Kane said. “I would have had a lot better feeling.”
Point had the back door on the four-on-three power play, and Stamkos faked a shot and passed to him for the easy game-winner. Stamkos came in leading the league in assists and picked up his 26th. The Lightning had taken the ice with four forwards, a look designed to end a game before shootout.
“I think whoever (the coach) sends out, they’re trying to score a goal, but we have so many weapons on this team,” said Point, who scored his ninth goal. “(Stamkos) is a great player, unbelievable to watch, and in games and in practice, he’s the hardest-working guy.”
Chicago had held the league’s best power play in check through regulation, killing off five power plays, but Tampa Bay earned the four-on-three advantage on Nick Schmaltz’s slashing penalty with 1:50 remaining. The Lightning needed only 15 seconds to score the game-winner.
The Lightning defense gave up two goals and 13 shots in the opening period, then settled down, holding Chicago scoreless on a combined 16 shots in the next two periods to force overtime.
Tampa Bay tied the game 31 seconds into the third period when Chris Kunitz fired in a rebound off a Ryan Callahan shot to make it a 2-2 game. It was Kunitz’s third goal of the season, beating Chicago goalie Corey Crawford (35 saves).
Chicago took the lead on its first shot of the game, as Kane fired a shot high on the glove side to beat Vasilevskiy, who came in with an NHL-best 14 wins. Vasilevskiy wound up with 29 saves.
Tampa Bay had 5:15 straight on the power play — first a four-minute high-sticking penalty on John Hayden, overlapping with a Jonathan Toews hooking for 45 seconds of five-on-three play. But the NHL’s top power play couldn’t convert, and Chicago earned the same opportunity in the other direction.
Later in the first period, Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde was called for slashing, and 21 seconds later, Victor Hedman got a delay penalty for sending the puck over the glass. Chicago converted the extended five-on-three, with Kane scoring his eighth goal of the season for a 2-0 lead.
The Lightning got back within a goal on a short-handed score. Hedman stole the puck and dropped a pass to Callahan, who fed the puck to Ondrej Palat for his sixth goal of the season with 15:33 left in the second perdiod.
NOTES: The Lightning saw C Cedric Paquette return to the ice after missing 13 games with an upper-body injury. D Slater Koekkoek was a healthy scratch, and D Jake Dotchin did not dress due to an undisclosed injury. ... Chicago had C Tanner Kero, D Michal Kempny and D Jordan Oesterle as scratches. ... Chicago finishes a three-game road trip at the Florida Panthers on Saturday, while the Lightning go on the road for their next four, starting with the Washington Capitals on Friday to open a back-to-back with Pittsburgh next.