NHL Playoffs – Lightning vs Blackhawks Game 3 Predictions

The 2015 Stanley Cup Final series moves to Chicago, where the Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning will both try to break the 1-1 deadlock and hopefully re-live the cliche about the winner of game 3 winning the entire series.

The Lightning bounced back from their first game loss with a 4-3 victory in game 2. This happened despite goaltender Ben Bishop leaving the game, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play in the third. Andrei Vasilevsky did a very good job in his place, and seems like the more likely contender to start in this game, which might not be such a bad thing considering Bishop hasn’t been the best of performed recently.

Image: Source
Image: Source

Regardless of who is trying to stop shots, the Blackhawks are worried about certain players not getting points. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have a single point between them in the first two games, a Toews assist in the game 2 loss. Kane, usually playing alongside his longtime teammate, didn’t even register a shot at goal, something that has happened to him only once before in a postseason game.

It’s not a stat you like to see, for sure. At the same time going into the next game, I’m not going to go in saying, `I need to get a shot here or there.’ I just go out and try to make the right play and worry about the results from there.

Despite playing on the same line in the triumphant series against the Ducks, Kane and Toews have been separated in game 2 and probably will be again, trying to keep at least one of them from the Lightning defensive duo of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman. I think that maybe changing those two guys on different lines will get us a little bit more depth and a little bit more balance, see how they can defend it.

The Lightning, despite the four goals in game 2, have their own specific problem when it comes to a key player struggling to get points. Steven Stamkos has yet to record one in the finals, but it’s nothing new for him in this postseason. He had no goals and three assists in the first eight games, and then had a 10-game stretch of seven goals and seven assists. He’s been without a point since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers. He had 43 goals in the regular season, second best in the NHL.

I think both teams have some very skilled players that the other team is paying close attention to. That’s when you get into secondary scoring. You saw it in Game 1 for them. You saw it in Game 2 for us. That might be a trend going forward.