NHL Game Night: 11-22-17 Blackhawks at Lightning

Lightning defies odds/adversity for impressive comeback win.

CHI-2
TB-3 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the win. It was a rough start for Andrei allowing a semi-soft goal to Kane where he was off his angle and deep in his net. When the good ones give up a couple early, though, they tend to dig their heels in and shut the door the rest of the way. That happened tonight as Vasilevskiy made about 4-5 unbelievable stops to give the Lightning the chance to eventually pull out the win.

First Period
3:49 CHI Kane (7), (Anisimov, Rutta)
15:54 CHI Kane (8), (Franson, Keith)(PP)

Second Period
4:27 TB Palat (6), (Callahan, Hedman)(SH)

Third Period
0:31 TB Kunitz (3), (Coburn, Callahan)

Overtime
3:25 TB Point (9), (Stamkos, Namestnikov)(PP)

Brayden Point and Ryan Callahan were the game's first and third stars.

That's not exactly how you'd draw up a win against a NHL power like Chicago, but it's impressive nonetheless. The Lightning looked a little disjointed in the First Period while dealing with Dotchin being out of the lineup, Paquette being back in the lineup, and a Chicago team that's well coached and has a lot of speed. Adding to their peril was a semi-soft goal allowed by Vasilevskiy and a failed 5-on-3 bid that put them on the downside of Espo's Rule. Things looked bleak after 20 minutes, but they fought hard the rest of the way to eventually equalize and win it in Overtime.

One of the biggest elements of that comeback was the surprising play of the fourth line of Kunitz/Paquette/Callahan. Playing with a regular, natural centerman seemed to free the whole line up to just buzz around and grind, with Paquette throwing a tone-setting hit on Toews that seemed to propel that line's who game from there on out. Callahan, in particular, turned in one of those performances that reminds you of what he was at the prime of his career.

I think the most impressive thing about tonight was it was a different way of winning. The Lightning were forced to manufacture a couple of goals to get level rather than simply winning a track meet. These kind of victories can help build a valuable foundation for when the calendar gets into late March and April and games get tighter and more meaningful.

One downside from tonight that I'll mention after watching it for the past three or so games: Kucherov's got to stop trying to make the cute play and simplify his approach. He's making one more move and one more pass than he needs to. When he's in a scoring area, he needs to just rip it. And, when a play's not there, put it in spots in the corners and trust your bloodhounds Namestnikov and Stamkos will get in there, sniff out those loose pucks, and keep the attack alive in the offensive zone.

Tampa Bay starts off their third 10-game segment of the season with 2 big points. They need 10 in their next 9 to clinch a successful segment.

Yanni Gourde was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 blocked shot, and he was 40% on 5 draws.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 17:54. He was impressive tonight against a high caliber foe. Yes, there were a couple of plays that were a little riskier than I may have liked from a rookie blueliner, but he made them stick.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.