There’s a reason the Tampa Bay Lightning are the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions. They have another gear that a team like the Blackhawks just can’t match, and it was on full display tonight, when they decided to flip the switch midway through the second period.
It was a fun start for the Blackhawks, who weren’t showing any early signs of fatigue, as they played out the tail end of the road-home back-to-back. Dylan Strome got the Blackhawks on the board early with a snipe job off the beauty of a dish from Patrick Kane. Kane and Strome continue to grow their scoring connection on the top line, with Dylan Strome logging five points in his last three games, including a pair of multi-point efforts in as many days.
— NHL (@NHL) March 7, 2022
Patrick Kane scored in early in the second period to make it 2-1 Blackhawks, logging his 17th multi-point performance of the season, and he has 11 points in his last six games. That’s where the fun ended, though. After Andrei Vasilevskiy turned away a barrage of prime scoring chances for the Blackhawks on a man-advantage, Victor Hedman tied the game up as a Tampa Bay power play expired on the other end, and that was it, that was the turning point tonight.
Cal Foote gave the Lightning a late second-period lead after securing a bouncing puck and catching Fleury diving in the other direction. Tampa added three more goals in 32 seconds early in the third period.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was on another level tonight, making a handful of incredible saves, including this Save of the Year candidate to deny Patrick Kane his second goal of the night:
That's it. That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/ES0XCPvs92
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 7, 2022
Tampa Bay came out a step slower than the Blackhawks tonight, and the Blackhawks had all the momentum in the opening period. The Hawks were actually a few bounces away from a 3-0 lead after one. Still, Chicago was just punching above their weight tonight, clearly nowhere close to the same class as the Lightning.
You can find the complete box score here!