Blackhawks Fight Back But Lose to Lightning in Heartbreaker – NBC Chicago

10 observations: Hawks fight back but lose to Lightning originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 at Amalie Arena on Saturday in a heartbreaker.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. The Blackhawks slipped to 1-10-1 in the second game of a back-to-back this season, and they’ve been outscored 42-19 in those 12 games for a goal differential of -23. 

2. Taylor Raddysh scored the game-tying goal early in the third period for his 17th of the season and his third in as many games. The assists? Cole Guttman and Tyler Johnson, all three of whom were associated with the Lightning organization at one point. 

3. It was the Brayden Point Show in Tampa Bay. He scored the first two goals for the Lightning, including the game-winner with 59.7 seconds left in regulation to put his team ahead 2-1. An absolute heartbreaker for the Blackhawks, who made a strong push in the third period. Point tallied his 42nd and 43rd goals of the season, which surpasses his previous season-high of 41.

4. You don’t see this very often in today’s NHL, but Petr Mrazek started on back-to-back nights because Alex Stalock is still sick. The Blackhawks recalled veteran goaltender Anton Khudobin but he served as the backup. Mrazek was almost a brick wall yet again. He finished with 34 saves on 36 shots for a save percentage of .944.

5. If you didn’t watch the first period, you missed absolutely nothing. The Blackhawks had only four shots on goal and the Lightning had just seven. The most exciting thing that happened was Ian Mitchell nearly scoring on a dump-in attempt from the neutral zone.

6. For the third straight game, Seth and Caleb Jones led the team in ice time at 27:26 and 23:49, respectively. With Jack Johnson and Jake McCabe no longer here and Connor Murphy out for personal reasons, the Blackhawks have really had to lean on the Jones brothers post-trade deadline.

7. Steven Stamkos appeared to suffer a left leg injury in the first period, and he did not return. Anthony Cirelli also exited briefly in the second period after colliding with Jason Dickinson at center ice but returned shortly after. Not an ideal time to be dealing with key players going down for the Lightning, who just got back Victor Hedman after he missed a week due to an injury. You hope Stamkos isn’t out for an extended period of time because that would be a crusher.

8. Brandon Hagel is having a terrific season for Tampa Bay. He scored the empty netter with 2 seconds left, and is on pace to finish with 28 goals, 35 assists and 63 points, which would be a career-high in all three offensive categories. He’s played most of his minutes on the first line with Point. When the two of them are on the ice together at even strength, the Lightning control 58.5 percent of the scoring chances, per Natural Stat Trick. That’s a dominant number.

9. Funny note on the broadcast by play-by-play announcer Chris Vosters: Michael Eyssimont has now faced the Blackhawks four times this season, with three different teams. He started with Winnipeg, was claimed off waivers by San Jose, and then got traded to Tampa Bay at the deadline. In both of those games when he was with the Jets, he found himself at the center of a bit of controversy.

In the first game, he blatantly interfered with Andreas Athanasiou but it went uncalled. In the second, Eyssimont shoved Jack Johnson’s head onto the ice and it led to a scuffle, although the anger stemmed from Eyssimont not liking the cross-check he took from Johnson in front of the net seconds before.

10. It looks like Tampa Bay is on a collision course to play Toronto in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. Give me the Maple Leafs in that series. They’re a much better defensive team that they get credit for. Plus, it’s their time, and I just think the Lightning will run out of gas after making deep playoff runs for three straight years.

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