Chicago one step closer to the golf course after 5–2 loss in Tampa Bay

  

The Chicago Blackhawks traveled up the road to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning after their lackluster contest against the Florida Panthers Thursday night. The good news for Chicago (24–34–10), a lot of players were able to get an up-close look at the golf courses they could find their way to in the offseason in a few weeks. The Sunshine State is truly a great place to golf and this trip definitely could have made its mark on the Blackhawks.

The visitors surprisingly jumped into the game with a bunch more energy, but still gave up a season-high 19 shots to the Lightning in the first period. Forwards Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point both scored their 31st and 26th goals, respectively, on the power play as both teams found themselves shorthanded twice in the opening frame. Stamkos’ goal was the exiting type of hockey we have become accustomed to from the two-time Stanley Cup champions.

In a rarity, defenseman Calvin de Haan scored his third goal of the season while shorthanded. Chicago would tie the game when Alex DeBrincat buried his 39th goal of the season at the 17:21 mark of the period. Many still believe that there was no market for de Haan at the deadline; I truly believe that over Kyle Davidson’s asking price being too high, others did not know about his ability to pile on the shorthanded goals against the Lightning.

The first period overall was a mess with Chicago not being able to stay out of the penalty box, but as we know in sports, always expect the unexpected, as the period ended with the score tied 2–2.

The Lightning took back the lead when Ross Colton scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season, beating Kevin Lankinen at the 6:12 and 12:15 marks of the second period to give the Lightning the lead back at 4–2.

After two periods of play, the Blackhawks were completely outplayed, as the great Charlie Roumeliotis showed on Twitter. The Lightning looked to do their part trying not to fall asleep long enough to let the Blackhawks back into the game.

We could beat a dead horse, but Chicago was able to muster one shot in the first 12 minutes of action, as the talented Lightning made quick work of the rebuilding Blackhawks in the third period. A Hall of Fame college basketball coach used to use a four-corners offense before the shot clock was implemented in order to keep the ball way from his opponents and use the clock up to win games. The Lightning did their best in making Coach Smith happy with locking down the offense and making Chicago look like they were running around chasing their own tales.

Roberto Duran said it best.

Analysis

Chicago fans were able to get another look at their favorite bottom-line forward Brandon Hagel for a whopping 12 minutes or so and anyone that thought he was not worth two prospects, albeit not top prospects, and two first-round picks really need to open their eyes and see that Hagel will be nothing more than a bottom-minutes forward and chip in his fair share of goals, but will not fire away at 23% ever again. These type of forwards are useful on Stanley Cup-type teams, however, there are another 150 Hagels skating in the NHL. Davidson did exactly what he needed to do at the trade deadline. His empty-net goal was really something, though.

As a 15 handicap in golf, I was able to spend a lot of the hockey game working on my grip as I prepare for the upcoming golf season here in the Midwest. As a fan of the Blackhawks for over 40 years, I did not want my team to feel alone. If I can save some strokes off the tee, I can really push my handicap toward 10–12, awarding me with an eight-year deal with a full no-movement clause, oh wait, those days are in the past.

Chicago is back on home ice on Sunday as the Arizona Coyotes come to town for a 6 p.m. CDT puck drop on Madison Street.

Center Ice Forums Chicago one step closer to the golf course after 5–2 loss in Tampa Bay

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