NHL

Stanley Cup final: 3 stories from Lightning-Blackhawks Game 4

The Chicago Blackhawks didn't register their first shot until 8:17 of the first period on Wednesday, but fired 18 more at surprise starter Andrei Vasilevskiy, scoring twice for a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay to even the Stanley Cup final at two games apiece.

Vasilevskiy fills in admirably for Bishop; Saad notches winning goal

Blackhawks tie series at 2-2

8 years ago
Duration 0:30
The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 to tie the Stanley Cup Final series at 2-2.

The Chicago Blackhawks didn't register their first shot until 8:17 of the first period on Wednesday, but fired 18 more at surprise starter Andrei Vasilevskiy, scoring twice for a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay to even the Stanley Cup final at two games apiece.

Here are three stories from Game 4:

Vasilevskiy starts over Bishop

With starting goalie Ben Bishop forced to sit out with a suspected groin or leg injury, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper gave the nod to Andrei Vasilevskiy. Making his first NHL playoff start, the 20-year-old Vasilevskiy stopped 17 shots and became the fourth-youngest goalie to start a Stanley Cup final game in NHL history and the youngest since 20-year-old Patrick Roy in 1986. Vasilevskiy didn't face his first shot until the 8:17 mark, turning away a Patrick Sharp slapper. Vasilevskiy, who won Game 2 with a third-period relief appearance, and backup Kristers Gudlevskis entered Wednesday's contest with a combined four minutes 44 seconds of playing time in this series. Vasilevskiy would like another shot to stop Brandon Saad's winning goal, a shot that went through the Lightning goalie's legs.


Crawford earns pay

With his team trailing 2-1 in the series, Corey Crawford needed to have a big Game 4 in the Chicago net and he delivered. Crawford made 24 saves, including a bunch in the final minute of regulation. First, he stopped a point-blank shot off the stick of Steven Stamkos with 52 seconds remaining. Crawford then denied Game 3 hero Cedric Paquette and turned aside an Anton Stralman blast from the point. The Blackhawks netminder made several other big stops, including a save against Johnson in the second period.


His only blemish was a second-period goal by Lightning winger Alex Killorn that Crawford didn't see, thanks to a sneaky pass by Valtteri Filppula.


Little by little

Brandon Saad was one of the Blackhawks' five better-skilled players without a goal through two games of the Stanley Cup final but found the net in Monday's 3-2 loss. On Wednesday, it was Chicago captain Jonathan Toews' turn. Without a goal in the series, Toews found himself at the right place at the right time. After beating a Tampa defender to the net, he whacked the puck out of mid-air and past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to open the scoring at 6:40 of the second period.


That leaves Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp still in search of their first goal of the series but each of them picked up an assist Wednesday. A frustrated Kane didn't have a shot in six minutes of ice time in the first period but finished the night with three shots and two takeaways. Hossa added two shots and four hits while Sharp had two shots and hit the post on a mini-breakaway in the second period. Vasilevskiy also made a right-toe save on Sharp with 3:38 left in the period.

For the Lightning, Steven Stamkos has gone six games without a goal, dating back to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers on May 24. He had two shots in 20:40 of ice time but also missed two shots – the first with 74 seconds left in regulation and another that went off the heel of Chicago blue-liner Brent Seabrook's stick in the dying seconds.

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