After grabbing an early 1-0 lead and sitting on it for virtually the entire game, the Tampa Bay Lightning gave up two third-period goals less than two minutes apart to lose, 2-1, to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday.
Teuvo Teravainen tied the game with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, and Antoine Vermette netted the game-winner with less than five minutes to go.
Game 2 isn’t until Saturday, which should give the Lightning plenty of time to rest, recover, and, oh yeah, see a shrink.
“It was a tale of a couple of games,” NHL on NBC lead analyst Eddie Olczyk said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “One, the only reason the score was 1-0 in that third period was because of Corey Crawford. He made a couple of huge stops early in that game. He stopped Steven Stamkos a couple of times in the second period. Jonathan Toews, a world-class center iceman, redirected a shot on Crawford, (and) he made a great save. And right before the goal from Teravainen, Ryan Callahan had a breakaway and he wasn’t able to put the puck in the back of the net. Crawford made a good save. I think Callahan rushed that chance. I thought he had a little bit more time than he realized. Remember, what he did against Henrik Lundqvist in that series against the Rangers. He went forehand-backhand, and Lundqvist had no idea what to do on that move, (but) Callahan shot it right into (Crawford).”
Teravainen scored less than a minute later and Vermette scored less than two minutes after that.
“The Blackhawks skate out of Game 1 with a huge win,” Olczyk said. “But if it wasn’t for Corey Crawford, that game was 3-0 in the first period and probably pretty tough for the Blackhawks to come back.”
Game 1 unfolded as Olczyk thought it would in some ways, not so much in others.
“I think that at times it was what we thought it would be,” he said, “but it didn’t have that same track meet type of feeling – probably because Tampa just really shut it down. They went a long stretch in the first period where they didn’t have a shot on goal the last eight minutes of the period, and then they went a couple of minutes into the second period. I mentioned the couple of chances Stamkos had. Stamkos had back-to-back chances, (but) Crawford made (big saves).”
Crawford had 22 saves on 23 shots (.957), while Ben Bishop had 19 saves on 21 shots (.905).
“At times, it did get wide open, (which is) what we were expecting,” Olczyk said. “But going into the game, I thought if both goaltenders were average that each game could be about 6-5. I thought Crawford was above average. I thought he was very, very good. Bishop didn’t have a lot of quality chances. He really didn’t. He had a couple of good saves in the third. Just thinking off the top of my head, I don’t know that Bishop had one second-chance opportunity. There was a lot of one-and-done for the Blackhawks. They really did not have much going on offensively, but Crawford, to me, was the deal. He was the No. 1 star of the game in my books, and the Blackhawks are three wins away from winning their third Stanley Cup in six years.”