Blackhawks Beat Lightning, Tie Stanley Cup Final 2-2

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

With a flick of the wrist, Brandon Saad scored the winning goal through the five hole to win Game 4 and tie the Stanley Cup Final series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Lightning named Andrei Vasilevskiy the starting goalie as Ben Bishop recovers from an injury. The team did not elaborate on the injury, but he showed obvious pain and discomfort in Game 3 after he left Game 2 twice. The team placed 22-year-old Krister Gudlevskis on the bench for backup.

It was an odd game. Even though the Blackhawks won, they never appeared to have full control. The Lightning outshot them 25-19 as a way to protect their rookie goalie. The Hawks registered their first shot at 8:18 in the first period. But despite the pressure, goalie Corey Crawford protected his net. In that period, he stopped a shot from Tyler Johnson and quickly slid to the other side to stop Ryan Callahan from shooting in the deflection.

“That was probably our worst game in a while, for whatever reason,” explained Hawks center Brad Richards. “We really wanted it but we just kept getting in each other’s way. [The Lightning] are way better than anybody imagined at checking and trying to frustrate you. We’re learning that mentality that it might be 2-1 games the rest of the way.

“You have those nights. The good thing is we’re experienced enough and good enough that we got through it. We got big plays by different people and big saves and then we got going.”

But when the Hawks are in trouble, captain Jonathan Toews is there to bail them out. He scored at 6:40 to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead, which is the first time the team scored the first goal of a game in the series. It immediately relieved the tension in the United Center as fans erupted.

Alex Killorn tied the game at 11:47 on a bizarre goal. Look at this gif. Where is the puck?

Oh! There it is. As the tweet indicates, many lost track of the puck.

It was Killorn’s second odd goal of the series. In Game 1 he found a way to perfectly deflect the puck past Crawford.

Even though the Lightning outshot the Blackhawks, they did not produce many quality shots on goal. The Blackhawks managed to clear away many rebounds before any Lightning player could manage another shot on goal. This is only one of the many times the Blackhawks stepped in to help Crawford.

“We expected a fast team,” stated Antoine Vermette. “Certainly, looking at them, they’ve done some great stuff. They won the Eastern conference for a reason. They’re powerful, speed-wise and skill.”

Game 5 is Saturday night in Tampa Bay at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC.


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