RECAP: Lightning strike in 4–2 win over Blackhawks


The Chicago Blackhawks returned to the United Center on Thursday night to face the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time in a week. The Hawks were coming off a 4–3 road loss to the Florida Panthers in the second game of a two-game trip through Florida, which began with a 5–3 win last Thursday night in Tampa. Petr Mrazek was between the pipes for Chicago while Jonas Johansson started for the visitors, a disappointing sight for those hoping to see former Hawks prospect Matt Tomkins between the pipes for the visitors.

The Blackhawks opened the scoring on the power play at 12:59 of the first when (finally!) Lukas Reichel scored his first of the season. Philipp Kurashev sent a shot-pass from the left point toward the slot where Reichel deflected it past Johansson, who was screened by Corey Perry, to give the home team a 1–0 lead. The Hawks held that lead through the first 20 minutes of play.

Nearly five minutes into the second period, Tampa Bay tied it with a power play goal of their own. Brayden Point tipped a Victor Hedman point shot for his seventh of the season.

The Lightning took a 2–1 lead shortly after when Mikhail Sergachev scored his first of the season at the 9:01 mark. After some strong puck possession by the Lightning, Sergachev blasted a one-timer past Mrazek from the point to give the Bolts the lead, which they took into the second intermission.

Early in the third, Perry tied it with his fourth of the season. Perry forced a turnover and then skated in 2-on-1 with Boris Katchouk, who dished it to Jason Dickinson in front, who redirected it to Perry for a tap-in.

At 11:53 of the third, the Lightning regained the lead at 3–2. Eric Cernak’s point shot missed the net but took a fortunate bounce off the boards right on to the stick of Hedman, who tapped it on the doorstep for his fourth of the season.

The Lightning iced it with 48.8 seconds left when former Blackhawk Brandon Hagel scored his eighth of the season into the Hawks’ vacated net. Tampa Bay had a 4–2 lead which would be the final.


Tampa Bay was desperate for a win after being on the wrong end of back-to-back shutouts and they dominated play. If it were not for some big saves from Mrazek, the score may have been a lot uglier, as the Lightning doubled Chicago in shots on goal (30–15). The Lightning’s aggressive forecheck enabled them to keep the puck in the Hawks’ end for most of the game. In the third, the Hawks sat on one shot on goal until about three minutes were left in the game. Connor Bedard was a total non-factor, as the Lightning were all over him defensively and forced him to play most of his shifts in his own end. On the plus side, Reichel finally scratched the score sheet and the hope is that this relieves some pressure and he gets on a roll.

The Blackhawks return to the ice on Saturday afternoon in Nashville. Puck drop is at 1 p.m. CST on NBCSCH with the radio call on WGN 720.


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