Lightning 5, Blackhawks 4: Hawks show some flaws in Fla.
By Adam L. Jahns email@example.com November 4, 2011 10:08PM
Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson makes a save on Jonathan Toews in the first period. | Chris O’Meara~AP
Updated: December 6, 2011 8:31AM
TAMPA, Fla. — By all accounts, a road trip to sunny Florida in which three of four points are earned against two pretty good opponents is a successful one.
But it was easy to sense the dissatisfaction in the Blackhawks’ locker room the last two nights.
“It sucks,” Jonathan Toews said after the Hawks lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in overtime at the St. Pete Times Forum on Friday.
It felt that way because the Hawks blew a two-goal lead for the second consecutive night and went into overtime for the fifth and sixth times this season.
It’s bothersome because the Hawks had an impressive four-goal breakout full of highlight-reel plays in the second period. It stings because some defensive miscues continue to tarnish their game and their power play finally produced. It “sucks” because they failed to get anything going in overtime.
Vincent Lecavalier scored the game-winner with 54 seconds left on a nice setup from Martin St. Louis for the Lightning, but also after the Hawks lost some of their sticks and failed to corral the puck and clear it from their zone.
It was the conclusion of a wild, back-and-forth affair, which saw eight goals scored in the second period and stars on both sides rack up points and highlights.
Steven Stamkos had a hat trick for Tampa Bay, and St. Louis finished with three assists. Ryan Malone had two assists.
Patrick Sharp scored twice, Daniel Carcillo made a nice play for a breakaway goal and the connection between Patrick Kane (three assists) and Marian Hossa (goal, assist) continued to look unstoppable at times.
Still, coach Joel Quenneville made sure to address the Hawks’ miscues in their own end, especially the ones around goalie Ray Emery, after the game. The plus-minus ratings of Nick Leddy (minus-4) and Dave Bolland (minus-3) stand out. Leddy had a team-best plus-7 entering the game.
“We have to be aware of what we give up,” Quenneville said. “The goals around the net are things that we talk about that we can’t give up those kind of goals — open-side goals.”
Emery allowed five goals on 32 shots for his first loss in three starts. Brett Connolly’s goal at 4:55 in the second was reviewed because he was in the net, which appeared to be off its moorings.
“For one thing, the net kind of got knocked off,” Emery said. “Although I only had my stick coming across, I couldn’t really make the save anyway because he was there, too.”
After that, the Hawks reeled off three goals in a 65-second span but watched the Lightning score two goals to close out the period, including Stamkos’ power-play goal with 33 seconds left.
“I think we’re playing some good hockey and doing some good things, but maybe we can learn from these handful of games that we’ve been going to overtime,” Toews said. “If we keep that pressure and we keep playing the way we can for the majority of the game, we have no business letting these teams back into the game.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of time when you go up two goals in the second period. But if you keep that pressure on them and keep that lead going into the third, it could be a different game. It’s a good little road trip in the last two games, but there’s a lot of things we can do better. I think we’re getting closer to being that team.”