Blackhawks lose a golden opportunity in Game 3

  • Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa is dejected after missing a wide open net in the first period during in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at the United Center Monday.

    Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa is dejected after missing a wide open net in the first period during in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at the United Center Monday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Updated 6/9/2015 7:29 AM

The opposing goalie was clearly hobbled.

The Hawks fired a machine-gun like 18 shots in the first 16 minutes.


And coach Joel Quenneville's squad had a 2-1 lead that almost felt like it was 6-1 thanks to Brandon Saad's blast just 4:14 into the third period.

In the end, though, none of that mattered.

Tampa Bay, behind perhaps the guttiest performance by a goalie in recent Stanley Cup Final history, ripped the hearts out of a pulsating United Center crowd with a 3-2 victory Monday night.

The win came thanks in large part to Ben Bishop (36 saves) and the fact that the Lightning were able to erase that 2-1 deficit on a goal by Ondrej Palat just 13 seconds after Saad scored. Cedric Paquette netted the game-winner with 3:11 on the clock.

Tampa Bay owns a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 at the United Center on Wednesday.

"We feel like we had a lot of chances, especially early in the game," Jonathan Toews said. "Late in the game, we gave up those odd-man rushes we've been talking about.

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"We'll improve in that area and … find that anger, the emotion we need to bounce back."

All the talk afterward was the play of Bishop, who made 18 of his 36 saves in the first period despite clearly being slowed due to an apparent injury.

"I don't know," Marian Hossa said, "if he's not OK, we should take advantage of it and just keep peppering the puck at the net like we did in the first period."

Hossa had a pair of assists but would really like to have another shot at the open net he faced just over eight minutes into the first period. Braydon Coburn, who was penalized, tripped Hossa up just enough to force the shot wide.

"When I tried to release the puck, somehow I tripped, the puck slipped funny and somehow I missed the net," said Hossa, who added that he was sure he would have scored if not for Callahan getting him off balance.


The Hawks absolutely peppered Bishop in the first period. Their best chances came when Teuvo Teravainen and Patrick Kane broke free on a 2-on-1, with Kane getting stoned, and a shot by Teravainen moments later that slid just past the left post.

Brad Richards scored the other goal for the Hawks. It came on the power play 14:22 into the first period and tied the game at 1-1.

After Saad scored early in the third, it took the Lightning just 13 seconds to strike back. Nikita Kucherov flew into the Hawks' zone, put a puck on net and Ondrej Palat banged it into the net before Corey Crawford could cover it up.

"It's tough, the feelings after that goal," said Crawford, who made 29 saves. He later added: "I tried to get it and he came in at the same time with his stick. It was a 50-50 puck."

That's the second straight game -- and, amazingly, the 10th time this postseason -- that an opponent scored less than two minutes after the Hawks scored.

"Two games in a row we had the lead -- short-lived two times -- 2 tough losses in a row," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville.

"It's the most important shift, the next one," Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos said. "For us to respond that quick gave life to our bench."

The Hawks were understandably downtrodden in the locker room afterward, but they've been in this spot plenty of times before.

"This one hurts a little bit tonight, but we're just focused on winning a game and making it a best-of-three," Brad Richards said. "That's all you can ever ask for."

And as solid as Bishop has been, Toews has plenty of confidence that the Hawks will solve the 6-foot-7 beast.

"We've run into really good goaltenders in important series in the past," Toews said. "We just chip away and keep working. We have that patience.

"We always find ways to open the flood gates a little bit."

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