(SportsNetwork.com) – The Chicago Blackhawks aim to sweep a two-game swing
through Florida and record a third victory in a row on Friday night when they
visit the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Blackhawks began this quick stay in the Sunshine State without Patrick
Kane, who was lost for 12 weeks due to a broken collarbone suffered in a 3-2
shootout win over the visiting Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
Even without the star forward, Chicago was able to sweep the home-and-home set
with Florida, picking up a 3-0 victory last night behind Corey Crawford’s 20-
Crawford recorded his second shutout of the season and 12th of his career,
while Teuvo Teravainen, Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews all had goals.
The 20-year-old Teravainen scored just over three minutes into Thursday’s game
to give the Blackhawks the only goal they needed.
“I know I need to step up a little bit and provide some offense but I think
everyone has to step up,” said Teravainen, who had two goals and two assists
in 15 games for the Blackhawks in a previous call-up this season.
Goaltending also will need to step up in Kane’s absence and Crawford did that
by snapping a personal three-game slide. He had yielded four goals in each of
his previous two starts prior to last night and is 1-1-2 lifetime versus the
Lightning with a 1.89 goals against average and .908 save percentage in four
Backup Scott Darling, who made 34 saves in Tuesday’s win in what was his eight
career NHL game, has never faced Tampa Bay.
The third-place Blackhawks are three points behind the St. Louis Blues in the
Central Division, while the Lightning sit second in the Atlantic Division.
Tampa Bay is five points behind the first-place Montreal Canadiens and just
one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings.
The Lightning have been idle since Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Colorado
Avalanche, with netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy yielding all five goals on 18
shots in defeat.
Tampa Bay was coming off a 4-2 victory at Arizona the previous night and went
3-2-0 on a five-game road trip.
“Those back-to-back games were tough, but we showed a lot of effort tonight,”
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “We just have to be better with the
Tyler Johnson tallied a goal and two assists, Nikita Kucherov finished with a
goal and a helper and Brett Connolly and Ondrej Palat each lit the lamp as
Tampa Bay’s two-game game winning streak came to an end.
The Lightning will play four of their next five at home and are likely to
start Bishop, who is 2-1-1 with a 3.49 GAA and .907 save percentage in four
games versus the Blackhawks.
Tampa Bay had a five-game series winning streak versus the Blackhawks snapped
with a 3-2 shootout loss at Chicago on Nov. 11. Kane had the lone tally of the
tiebreaker and Crawford made 25 saves.
Bishop made 37 stops for the Lightning, who are 4-1-1 in their past six at
home versus the Blackhawks with a victory in three straight.