Lightning take late strike at Blackhawks

Lightning take late strike at Blackhawks
October 5, 2013, 10:30 pm
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Nina Falcone

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper had his team's plan laid out heading into Saturday's matchup: shoot and shoot often.

But once the puck dropped inside the United Center, the visiting team had a difficult time executing that plan. The Blackhawks held Tampa Bay to no shots on goal throughout the entire duration of the first period; it took 21:22 of ice time before goaltender Corey Crawford was called on to make a save. 

But once the Lightning began shooting — although it wasn't often — it was enough to earn them their fourth consecutive win over the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"Got a little outplayed there (in the first period)," forward Valtteri Filppula said following his team's 3-2 shootout victory. "But (goaltender Ben) Bishop played great and we were able to get back in the third and in the shootout. Good result, not the best game."

[MORE: Crawford, Hawks fall to Lightning in shootout]

It was a result no one expected to see. There wasn't much excitement from the start, but even once it picked up, the momentum on the ice remained with the Blackhawks as Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad gave their team a 2-0 lead.

"(The Blackhawks) skated a lot better than us," Filppula continued. "We didn't get the puck, we were always a little bit behind. But I gotta give it to them, they're a really good team and they played really well. The first two periods they didn't give us much — even in the third they didn't give us much but we played better to get the necessary goals."

It was Martin St. Louis who gave the Lightning the momentum they were searching for as he scored the first of Tampa Bay's two goals in regulation.

"It was a huge goal," Filppula said. "We didn't have a whole lot of scoring chances today. (The Blackhawks) played really well defensively and it was tough for us. But got that one and we were only one behind, so we knew we had a chance to come back."

[RELATED: Toews makes special appearance with Stanley Cup]

The Lightning did just that, despite only taking 14 shots in regulation. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, fired 37 at Bishop.

"We weathered the storm," Steven Stamkos said. "Obviously it wasn't the best period (in the first) but our goalie made some big saves and kept us in the game. 

"That's the way this league goes, you just keep going and you get a chance, you get a break, you get a power play, a big power play goal, a goal off the face-off — we stayed in the game. They're not always pretty, especially at this rink against this team; you're gonna take two points every night."

Despite the difficult start, the Lightning were pleased with the product they put out following that first 20 minutes of play as they went on to record their first win of the season.  

"That's all you can ask for is a chance to stay in the game, especially when you start like that," Stamkos said. "We were able to hang around and we got the win."