For the second game in a row, Brandon Saad scored a go-ahead goal in the third period, but this time the Chicago Blackhawks made it stick as they picked up a 2-1 victory to tie the Stanley Cup Final at 2-2.
Jonathan Toews also scored for the Blackhawks in the game, and Corey Crawford made 24 saves as the Hawks guaranteed a return trip to the United Center.
The Blackhawks shuffled up their lines in a big way to start the first period, but the moves didn’t pay dividends as the team struggled to gain possession of the puck. Fortunately for them, the Lightning couldn’t get much going either, and the game remained scoreless through a somewhat dull opening few minutes.
About nine minutes into the game, Brent Seabrook was sent to the penalty box for interference, and the Blackhawks killed off the penalty with ease. A Lightning penalty a few minutes later gave Chicago their first power play, but that was negated as Jonathan Toews was sent off. They killed off that penalty as well, and the game stayed tied at 0-0.
In the final few minutes, the Lightning got a couple of good chances, and Corey Crawford saved the day on several occasions. His biggest save came late in another Tampa power play as he kicked across the crease on a cross-ice pass, and he stoned Tyler Johnson on the doorstep to keep things scoreless after 20 minutes of play.
Early on in the second period, the Blackhawks came within less than an inch of taking the lead, but fate cruelly turned them aside. Johnny Oduya ripped in a quick slapshot from the face-off dot, and after the puck bounced off of Braydon Coburn, it hit the inside of the post and stayed out to keep the game scoreless.
A Patrick Sharp breakaway later in the period kickstarted a fine possession by the Blackhawks, and they took the lead as a result. A Marian Hossa shot was deflected on its way toward the net by Sharp, and after the winger’s rebound attempt was pushed wide Jonathan Toews knocked a shot off of Andrei Vasilevskiy’s skate and into the cage to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead about halfway through the period.
The Lightning failed on a power play opportunity shortly after the Hawks’ goal, but they kept the pressure high with the game at even strength and ended up tying it up. Valtteri Filppula got the puck in behind the Hawks’ net, and his sneaky pass fooled Crawford and allowed Alex Killorn to bury a shot top shelf to make it a 1-1 game.
The Blackhawks got a last good shot attempt as Patrick Kane was denied on a 2-on-1 rush late in the frame, and the game remained tied with a period to go.
The Blackhawks failed again on an early power play in the third period, but they kept up the pressure on Tampa Bay and grabbed the lead about six minutes in. After Brad Richards won a face-off in the offensive zone, Saad dug through traffic, got to the net, and eventually backhanded a shot home to give the team a 2-1 lead.
Tampa continued to press the issue in the late stages of the game, but they weren't able to get a shot past Crawford in the waning moments. Steven Stamkos had a couple of incredible chances on the doorstep, and Victor Hedman was all over the ice in the closing moments, and the Hawks managed to keep the puck out of the net as they tied the series and set up a critical Game 5 on Saturday night in Florida.