CHICAGO – Rallying with two goals in the final 10 minutes of play, the Tampa Bay Lightning went on to win their first game of the 2013-14 season against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks at United Center Saturday night. The Lightning’s Valtteri Filppula netted the first round shootout goal that stood as the game-winner in the 3-2 victory.
Netminder Ben Bishop earned his first win of the season after being put to the test on a Chicago team that put up nearly 40 shots. Bishop stopped 37 of 39 shots in the contest.
Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis also extended his point streak to four-straight games against the Blackhawks with his first goal of the season, while Teddy Purcell’s game-tying power-play goal was also his first.
“We needed Ben Bishop to stand tall if we had any chance of coming back and he did,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “We got one goal and then we were opportunistic on our power-play and we snuck out with a win.”
Despite keeping the game scoreless at the end of the first, the Lightning failed to put a shot on net through one period of play for just the third time in franchise history. Of Tampa Bay’s nine shot attempts, eight were blocked and one missed the net.
“There’s a reason why there defending Stanley Cup champions,” forward Tyler Johnson said. “They take away time and space. We just needed to play simpler. There’s too many times where we were trying to make the cute play, we just need to take shots and see that the puck can go in.”
The Bolts were not as lucky in the second period however, as Patrick Kane scored his second goal in two games 59 seconds into the middle frame. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson led the rush down the right side of the Lightning’s zone and took the initial shot. Bryan Bickell tried to score on the rebound, but Kane finally tallied for a 1-0 Chicago lead.
Then after killing five straight penalties through their first two games, Tampa Bay snapped that streak at 9:14 of the second period. The Blackhawks Nick Leddy dumped the puck into the Bolts’ zone, as netminder Bishop routinely set himself up behind the net. Instead, the puck made an unfortunate bounce directly in front of an unattended cage with Brandon Saad positioned perfectly to tally Chicago’s second goal of the game and the 2-0 lead.
Nearly 50 minutes passed before the Bolts managed to put a tally on the board. Nate Thompson won the ensuing faceoff after an icing call and passed to defenseman Matt Carle. Carle then sent the puck to St. Louis, who scored his first goal of the season at 10:08 of the third period.
“The first goal gave us life and I thought we held our own after that,” Cooper said.
Two minutes later St. Louis added his 913th point of the season, which brings him just one shy of tying Bobby Orr for all-time in career points. Steven Stamkos took a slapshot from the left that sent a rebound to the right in Chicago’s zone. St. Louis grabbed the puck and quickly passed to Teddy Purcell. The puck ricocheted off a Blackhawk skate, but landed on Purcell’s, who was able to tip it in for the, 2-2, tie at 11:51.
There was no scoring through the remainder of the third period sending the two clubs to their third trip to overtime in three straight contests. Each team added two more shots in the extra frame, but no goal, as the game headed to a shootout. Filppula then showed his value, scoring a first-round shootout goal that lifted the Lightning to the, 3-2, victory.
“We weren’t too happy with the way we played in the first two periods,” Bishop said. “We came in the third and we played a good 20 minutes and a good overtime period and shootout and sometimes that’s all it takes.”
UP NEXT – After exercising an off-day tomorrow, the Lightning head to Buffalo to wrap-up a three-game road trip Tuesday. Tampa Bay then heads home for their home opener against the Florida Panthers, which begins a season-long seven-game homestand. The Boston Bruins, Blackhawks and Sabres will all face the Bolts for their second game this month during that stretch
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