CHICAGO (AP) — The latest from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between Tampa Bay and Chicago:
Cedric Paquette scored the tiebreaking goal on an exceptional pass from Victor Hedman with 3:11 to play, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Ondrej Palat tied it for the Lightning right after Brandon Saad put the Blackhawks ahead early in the third period, and the series appeared headed to its first overtime game.
Hedman, the Lightning’s gifted Swedish defenseman, then took charge on an odd-man rush by drawing the defense and feeding a pass to Paquette. The low-scoring forward slammed the puck between defenseman Kyle Cumiskey’s legs and into a wide-open net for his second goal of the Final.
Ryan Callahan also scored and Ben Bishop made 36 saves even though he appeared to be moving shakily.
Brad Richards scored and Corey Crawford stopped 29 shots for the Blackhawks, who lost at home for just the second time in the playoffs.
Game 4 is Wednesday night in Chicago.
Cedric Paquette has put the Lightning ahead 3-2 with 3:11 to play, but Victor Hedman made it possible. Tampa Bay’s sublime Swedish defenseman took the center spot on an odd-man rush and drew the defense before getting a perfect pass to Paquette, who put it between defenseman Kyle Cumiskey’s legs for his second goal of the series. United Center is very quiet.
The United Center is tense, but neither team has taken a lead in the waning minutes of Game 3. Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop keeps stopping pucks despite an apparent nagging injury, crossing 30 saves early in the period. Tampa Bay is trying quick changes and plenty of work from its Triplets line to attack Corey Crawford, looking for an open net. Steven Stamkos just swung and fouled off a spinning puck in the slot right in front of Crawford.
Chicago takes a 2-1 lead, and it lasts 13 seconds.
After Marian Hossa got the puck to Brandon Saad alone in the slot, he buried his shot for his seventh goal of the playoffs. The United Center hadn’t even announced his goal when Ondrej Palat followed the puck into Corey Crawford’s crease and knocked it past the goalie’s outstretched glove for his eighth goal of the postseason. It’s 2-2 with 13:24 left in the third period.
Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya is back on the ice as the third period begins in a tense, tied Game 3.
He had missed the final 7:44 of the second period, and he was upset before he went to the dressing room, kicking the bench in frustration.
Nikita Nesterov, Tampa Bay’s seventh defenseman, has played just 3:58 in the first two periods. Steven Stamkos has played a whopping 14:37 so far.
Just a reminder: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Stamkos all haven’t scored a goal in the first eight periods of the Stanley Cup Final. Toews has won 12 of his 15 faceoffs so far, while Ondrej Palat has won seven of 10 for Tampa Bay.
We head to intermission tied 1-1 after a furious finish to the second period.
The Lightning got a two-man advantage for 86 seconds after Brandon Saad was called for goaltender interference when he made contact with Ben Bishop’s head on a drive to the crease. Bishop got up slowly, but stayed in the game while the Chicago crowd and coach Joel Quenneville vocally disagreed with the call. None of it mattered: Tampa Bay couldn’t score and even struggled to set up in the Blackhawks’ zone.
Corey Crawford provided an exceptional stretch of netminding for the Blackhawks, stopping all 17 Tampa Bay shots and doing much of the work while they killed the 5-on-3 disadvantage.
Chicago lost defenseman Johnny Oduya during the period with an apparent injury after he was tripped by Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. If Oduya is hurt, the Blackhawks would have just three of their four main defensemen left. Duncan Keith has played nearly 21 minutes of Game 3 with the third period still to come. Brent Seabrook is at 16:54 and Niklas Hjalmarsson at 16:41.
Chicago’s second power play of Game 3 was as bad as its first was good. Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman ended it by artfully lofting the puck off the boards and behind the Blackhawks to create a breakaway for Nikita Kucherov coming out of the box, but Corey Crawford stopped him. Still 1-1 midway through the second.
Until then, Antoine Vermette of Chicago had the best scoring chance of the period so far when Jason Garrison and Valtteri Filppula mishandle the puck and give him a breakaway, but Ben Bishop stopped it when Vermette doesn’t pass. Both teams playing aggressively, but Bishop is hanging in despite some apparently shaky legs.
8:31 p.m. PDT
NASCAR driver Danica Patrick is at the United Center to support her hockey team, waving her red cap when shown on the video board. The 33-year-old driver has attended many Blackhawks games in the past, even participating in on-ice puck-shooting promotions. Patrick is from Roscoe, Illinois, just near the Wisconsin line.
Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan is here, too. He is from suburban Chicago.
The second period of Game 3 is underway, and the Lightning have rediscovered their mojo. They’ve kept the puck penned in Chicago’s end for the opening two minutes, creating more offensive chances than they managed in the final 15 minutes of the first period. Tampa Bay has the first five shots of the second period and it was 20-15 in the favor of Chicago at 15:20.
Patrick Kane may be warming up, which is no surprise and is welcome news to Chicago fans. He had three shots in the first period of Game 3 after getting held without a shot in Game 2 in Tampa.
New Blackhawks defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk played 2:15 in just three shifts during his first NHL period since November. Duncan Keith picked up the slack as usual, playing 9:36.
Tampa Bay got zero shots out of the Triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov. The Lightning hung on for a tie after the Blackhawks missed a couple of open nets, but Tampa Bay also blocked nine shots, including four blocks from stalwart defenseman Victor Hedman.
Game 3 is 1-1 after the first period. The Lightning had a major drought when it came to shots, playing 13:19 between their fifth and sixth shots. The Blackhawks had 15 shots during that time, but they got just one past Ben Bishop, who is clearly struggling to move in his crease. Tampa Bay doesn’t have a lead after 20 minutes for the first time in this series, but the Blackhawks surely wish they had done more.
The Blackhawks are finally rewarded for 10 minutes of dominance when Brad Richards’ shot on the power play escapes the web of Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop’s glove and drops in the net, tying Game 3. Chicago has outshot Tampa Bay 17-1 since the opening four minutes.
Bishop is playing, but is he healthy? The goalie appears to be moving gingerly at times in his crease after making difficult sliding saves. The Lightning have refused to say why Bishop left Game 2 twice in the third period.
Four-on-four hockey after coincidental minors in Game 3 has led to numerous chances for the Blackhawks, but they can’t score. Teuvo Teravainen had a shot at a nearly open net, but couldn’t get it in for his third goal of the series. Moments later, a close chance by Andrew Shaw is denied by Ben Bishop. The Blackhawks are outshooting Tampa Bay 12-5 after getting outshot 4-0 in the first 4 minutes.
And Marian Hossa will see that open net in his dreams for a long time. After a strange deflection left Ben Bishop out of Tampa Bay’s net and the puck on Hossa’s stick, he leaned forward and swept a shot at the open net — and it just missed. Braydon Coburn helped out by tripping Hossa, but the veteran forward likely won’t use that as an excuse.
The Tampa Bay Lightning weren’t exactly intimidated by the United Center. They’ve taken a 1-0 lead just 5:09 into the first period on a beautiful goal by Ryan Callahan, who beat Corey Crawford’s glove cleanly on a shot that rang in off the post. Callahan was set up by a beautiful pass from Victor Hedman.
The Chicago fans have cheered through the anthem, and Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final is underway. Tampa Bay is controlling possession early, but a huge shot by Steven Stamkos was saved by Corey Crawford, the goalie whose play in Game 2 was “Just OK,” according to Hawks coach Joel Quenneville.
Ben Bishop is listed as Tampa Bay’s starting goalie on the official lineup sheet, so the Lightning’s single-season victories record-holder will play in Game 3 after leaving Game 2 twice in the final minutes.
Coach Jon Cooper made one swerve after warmups, activating defenseman Nikita Nesterov and scratching forward Jonathan Drouin. That means Tampa Bay will dress seven defensemen against an opponent that basically uses four.
Trevor Van Riemsdyk hasn’t played an NHL game since he broke his kneecap in November, but the defenseman is in the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup.
Van Riemsdyk has been practicing with the Hawks lately, and coach Joel Quenneville is trying another solution to his depth problem on defense. Kimmo Timonen, David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey have all struggled while playing scant minutes behind Chicago’s top four defensemen. Rundblad is scratched Wednesday night in favor of Van Riemsdyk.
The Blackhawks appear to be breaking up captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to start Game 3. They’re skating on different lines during warmups after starting Game 2 in Tampa together. Coach Joel Quenneville broke them up in the third period of Game 2, and Toews swiftly set up a goal. Neither star has a goal in the Final, and Kane didn’t record a shot in Game 2.
Jonathan Drouin appears to be in the Lightning’s lineup for the second straight game, if warmups are an indication. The 20-year-old forward got his first playoff action since the second round in Game 2.
Six of the top prospects in the upcoming NHL draft spent the day in Chicago to soak up the atmosphere around Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. After the pregame skate on Wednesday morning, likely top-two picks Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel exchanged phone numbers with Blackhawks and spoke to everyone about their bright futures.
“It’s a much different game at this level,” said McDavid, widely expected to be headed to the Edmonton Oilers with the No. 1 pick. “It’s going to be a lot harder, but it’s a dream come true.”
McDavid and Eichel, the Buffalo Sabres’ likely pick at No. 2, had never met until the just-completed NHL scouting combine.
“We’ve been linked together for a while, so it’s nice to get to know him,” Eichel said.
Ben Bishop led the Lightning onto the ice for pregame warmups before Game 3, finally providing the answer to the biggest mystery of the past two days.
After Bishop left Game 2 twice during the third period for unclear reasons, Tampa Bay has been incredibly tight-lipped about the identity of its starting goalie for Game 3. Rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy finished up the victory, but Tampa Bay has refused to say what was wrong with Bishop.
The Lightning even added to the intrigue when third-string goalie Kristers Gudlevskis rode the team bus to the United Center, but Bishop appears to be back in net as usual.
Blackhawks fans haven’t seen their team at home since May 25, so they’re more than slightly hyped for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Not even a few intense bursts of rain could dampen the spirits of these famously loyal fans, who filled the United Center’s halls with cheers and chants more than an hour before faceoff.
Chicago and Tampa Bay split the first two games of the series at Amalie Arena, with both contests decided on a third-period goal. Neither team took firm control of the series, but the Lightning have been an exceptionally good road team in the playoffs so far: 7-3.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.