The Tampa Bay Lightning have tied up the Stanley Cup Final at 1-1 with their win on Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. On Monday, the series will turn to Chicago. No doubt, both teams will head back to the drawing board to make some necessary adjustments. Here’s a look at 5 of the most interesting story lines of the Stanley Cup Final so far.
1. Paquette Line Getting the Best of Toews Line
After producing quite a bit in the three previous rounds, the Toews line has been relatively unproductive through the first two games. Other than producing an assist on the Blackhawks’ third goal, the line has been pretty quiet. One of the biggest reasons for the lack of production is 21-year-old Cedric Paquette. Along with linemates Ryan Callahan and J.T. Brown, Paquette has welcomed the chance to go up against Toews and the top line of the Blackhawks. So far, the Paquette line has had the advantage. Toews praised the Paquette line’s effort so far, but seems to be as confident as ever heading into Game 3 in Chicago. “They’re working hard. They’re playing good hockey — smart, defensive hockey.” We’ve just got to stay with it. Saad had a great chance 2-on-1 early in the game. I had a great chance where it bounced right off my stick — a great set-up by Kaner. So one of those go in and maybe you’re not asking those questions as much.”
2. Trouble in the Crease for Tampa?
Towards the end of Game 2, Tampa Bay had to turn to Andrei Vasilevskiy in replace of Ben Bishop. Bishop had not seemingly played too poorly, so it is speculated that Bishop may have re-aggravated a previous injury. After the game, Jon Cooper’s lips were sealed as to what may have happened to Bishop, saying “I hate to be that guy,” I know I talk way too much when I get up here, but I will not answer a question about the goaltending or what happened tonight.” Bisohp’s availability will be in question for Game 3, but the Lightning are ready to roll regardless. Vasilevskiy, a 20-year-old rookie, finished the game admirably, blocking all five shots that he faced against the Blackhawks in the final minutes. He has been a pretty solid goaltender for the Lightning this year, so only time will tell if the rookie can answer the bell for the rest of the series if Bishop is unavailable.
3. Costly Penalties
With a little over halfway to go in the third period of a 3-3 game, the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp took two extremely poor penalties. The first penalty (a slash by Sharp) was successfully killed by the ‘Hawks, but the second one was costly. Not long after coming out of the penalty box, Sharp got his stick high into the face of Ryan Callahan, taking another penalty. The penalty-kill team went at it again, but this time was unsuccessful, as a shot by Jason Garrison was redirected off of Andrew Desjardins’ skate and into the back of the net. Sharp took full responsibility after the game with his comments.
Patrick Sharp on consecutive penalties in third: "I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. It happened. I take responsibility." #Blackhawks
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) June 7, 2015
The Garrison goal ended up being the game-winner. The Blackhawks will need to play with more discipline at the end of the game to achieve success in the next few games.
4. Teravainen Continues Hot Streak
With the speculation of a massive overhaul looming in the offseason, Teuvo Teravainen has given Blackhawks fans a tremendous amount of hope for the future. Teravainen scored on the power-play early in the second period, and has continued his excellent play in the last few rounds. In his last six games, the 20-year-old Finn has three goals and three assists. His four total goals in the playoffs have matched his output from the entire season.
Teuvo Teravainen is the fifth rookie since 1927 to score in each of the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final. #Blackhawks
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) June 7, 2015
After Game 1, Teravainen admitted to being terrified of the media. However, with all of his recent success, Teravainen may have to quickly adjust to speaking to them as one of the most productive players for the Blackhawks this series.
5. Seabrook Scores Another Big Goal
Brent Seabrook has also had a great postseason for the Blackhawks. His blast from Toews late in Game 2 tied the score at three, and was his seventh goal in the playoffs. His seven goals have set the record for a Blackhawks defensemen, passing Chris Chelios’ six goals in 1992.
Over the years, Seabrook has scored some massive goals for the Blackhawks in the playoffs. Earlier this year, he scored the triple overtime winner against the Nashville Predators. In the 2013 Stanley Cup run, he scored the overtime Game 7 winner against the Detroit Red Wings, and another overtime winner in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Seabrook’s goal in Game 2 wasn’t a winning goal, but it tied up the game late in the third. It’s clear that the Blackhawks can count on Seabrook when they’re in need of a goal.
Puck drop is set for 7:00 CST on Monday night in Chicago.