NHL Game Night: 11-4-11 Blackhawks at Lightning

Big win. Big, big win.

CHI-4
TB-5 (OT)

Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the victory. The stat line isn't a beauty, but his first period was superlative to give the Lightning a chance.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
TB Stamkos (7), (Malone, Bergeron), 0:15
CHI Sharp (4), (Toews, Kane)(PP), 1:05
TB Connolly (2), (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 4:55
CHI Hossa (7), (Kane, Montador), 6:17
CHI Carcillo (1), (unassisted), 7:10
CHI Sharp (5), (Kane, Hossa), 7:22
TB Stamkos (8), (Purcell), 11:45
TB Stamkos (9), (St. Louis, Malone)(PP), 19:27

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
TB Lecavalier (6), (St. Louis, Bergeron), 4:06

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were the game's first and second stars.

What a roller coaster. Chicago should be considered a legitimate contender to come out of the West this year, and they looked like they totally outclassed the Lightning in the first period in terms of speed and puck possession. It was a bit of a clinic, with the saving grace being Dwayne Roloson's play.

The Lightning started to take some baby steps in the second period, getting a couple of 1 goal leads, but then you had some mistakes, particularly a M.A. Bergeron turnover at the point that led to Daniel Carcillo's breakaway goal. 3 goals very quickly by Chicago and the Lightning looked like dead meat. Then Steven Stamkos reminded the NHL why he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with Crosby and Ovechkin. He bodied a defender to force a turnover that led to his second goal, and then Marty St. Louis made a magical read and pass to set Stammer for an easy one-timer goal for the hat trick. Stammer was absolutely dominant in the third period, too, and could've had 6-7 goals with a little luck. Amazing. The Hawks should be glad he got drafted by an Eastern Conference team because he absolutely owns Chicago when he plays them.

It was a strong third period on the forecheck for the Lightning, with just a few scary moments against Chicago's top line. And then, in overtime, M.A. Bergeron redeemed himself with a great play to steal the puck in the offensive zone, roll over his wrists on a tough pass that Marty St. Louis made a great pick on, and then the easy 2 on 1 conversion down low by Lecavalier. That play was like stealing.

The game, as a whole, is not something you want to do every night. The defensive sloppiness and a 3 quick goal scenario is something that can't keep happening. But, when you have your best player show how dominant he can be and when you defeat a team that is a legitimate Cup contender, that works wonders for a team's confidence. It certainly feels better than sitting at .500 after getting fed their helmets by the Canes.

Brett Connolly had a goal and 2 penalty minutes with 2 shots in 13:37.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.