The Tampa Bay Lightning hadn't lost a game in this postseason in which they'd scored first, but goals by Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette changed that as the Chicago Blackhawks scored a 2-1 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Corey Crawford stopped 22 shots in the game as the Hawks seized a 1-0 lead in the series and stole home ice advantage from the upstart Lightning.
The Lightning, perhaps buoyed by their raucous crowd and the fact they were skating in their first Stanley Cup Final in over a decade, came out on fire in the opening minutes of the game, racking up chances in the early going. The best one came as Anton Stralman batted a puck back through the goal mouth, and Alex Killorn steered a shot toward the net. The puck ended up skipping just wide of the net, and the Hawks escaped.
Their luck turned quickly however, and the Lightning grabbed the early lead. Off of a shot from Stralman, Steven Stamkos whiffed on his deflection attempt, but Killorn didn’t. The talented forward somehow redirected the puck from a near-90 degree angle and it bounced past Corey Crawford to give the Bolts a 1-0 lead.
The Blackhawks attempted to give the Lightning even more momentum as Andrew Shaw went to the penalty box, but in spite of that power play, Tampa couldn’t capitalize. Tyler Johnson had a golden opportunity in the low slot, but Crawford shouldered it away and kept his team within range.
The Hawks got a late power play in the first period, but they too were unable to convert. Jonathan Toews and Teuvo Teravainen each had scoring chances on the man-advantage, but neither could put them past Ben Bishop as the Bolts maintained their one goal lead through 20 minutes of play.
The second period started out with a Blackhawks’ power play, but just like in the first period, they couldn’t figure out how to get the puck toward the net. They got another one near the halfway mark of the frame and failed to score on it as well, and the Lightning continued to hold onto their narrow lead.
After Kris Versteeg was whistled for a penalty while slamming his face into the goal post, the Bolts got a power play of their own. The Hawks’ penalty killers were up to the task however, and they maintained the status quo.
The final minutes of the period saw good chances at both ends, with Stamkos hammering in a slapshot and Brent Seabrook doing likewise at the other end, but the goaltenders stood tall as the Lightning retained their lead after two periods.
The Blackhawks turned the tables possession-wise in the third period, dominating the play and getting a huge amount of scoring chances. The Lightning did a nice job of blocking most of the shot opportunities, but Chicago's pressure made it seem as though the dam would eventually break.
With about six and a half minutes to go in the game, the Blackhawks got the game-tying goal from their youngest star. After a nice play by Duncan Keith to get him the puck, Teravainen fired a perfect shot toward the net. With Marcus Kruger providing a screen in front, Bishop didn't have a chance as the puck went over his shoulder and tied the game at 1-1.
Just two minutes later, the Blackhawks scored again. Teravainen helped make this play as well as he stripped J.T. Brown of the puck in the offensive zone, and Vermette wristed a shot over Bishop's glove to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead.
The Lightning made a huge push at the end of the game, but it wasn't enough as Crawford stood tall in those dying moments and gave his team a critical series-opening win on the road.
The Blackhawks will look to take a stranglehold on the series Saturday night when the Stanley Cup FInal resumes in Tampa. The puck drop is scheduled for 6:15 p.m., and the game will air on NBC 5 Chicago.