CHICAGO (AP) — The latest from Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between Tampa Bay and Chicago on Monday night:
Finally, a two-goal lead.
Patrick Kane scored with 5:13 remaining to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning and bring them to the edge of their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
Brandon Saad picked the puck up in his own zone and passed to Brad Richards on a three-on-two rush. Richards pulled the defense to the left and slid the puck to Kane in the right circle for a one-timer and his first goal of the series.
It’s also the first time either team had a two-goal lead in this final.
The Chicago Blackhawks are 20 minutes away from their third Stanley Cup championship in six seasons.
Duncan Keith knocked in his own rebound with 2:47 left in the second period to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 1-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the final. Chicago leads the series 3-2 and can win the Cup with a victory.
Patrick Kane, from the right point, spotted Keith rushing from the deep slot and set him up for a wrist shot.
Bishop made the initial save, but Keith kept coming. He picked up his own rebound to the left of the net and knocked the bouncing puck over the goalie’s glove.
The Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook hit the right post in the closing seconds with a shot a few steps inside the blue line, keeping it 1-0.
The Blackhawks continue to apply the pressure — and come away empty-handed.
The Blackhawks had a three-on-one just over six minutes into the third, only to have Andrew Shaw’s pass go just a tad too long for Andrew Desjardins.
Not long after, Kris Versteeg redirected a shot by Kimmo Timonen from the right point to the right of a sprawled out Ben Bishop, but the puck skidded wide.
Chicago was outshooting Tampa Bay 17-9 with 5:01 left in the second period. So far, Bishop and Chicago’s Corey Crawford have held the line.
Another near miss for Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos, who was stopped on a breakaway just under a minute into the second period.
He slowed down and then faked Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, who went down and stuck out his left pad to make the save and keep the game scoreless.
Stamkos hasn’t scored in the series but he has been relentless all game, and every game. H rang a shot off the crossbar just under seven minutes into the game.
Ben Bishop made 13 saves for Tampa Bay and the Lightning were locked in a scoreless tie with the Chicago Blackhawks through the first period.
Bishop stood his ground in goal, with the Blackhawks, leading the series 3-2, trying to lock up their third Stanley Cup in six years.
The first 7 minutes of the period were cautious, with both teams feeling each other out a bit and Chicago holding an early 3-1 edge in shots on goal — and then things got cranked up.
Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos just missed his first goal of the series, hitting the crossbar with a slapshot just under seven minutes into the game.
Moments later, Matthew Carle almost directed the puck into the net for Tampa Bay, only to be stopped by Corey Crawford’s right pad. The Lightning then killed off a Chicago power play with Ben Bishop stopping Tuevo Teravainen point blank with his right skate after a pass from Marian Hossa.
Chicago’s Patrick Kane almost had another assist, sliding the goal across the crease to fellow star Jonathan Toews, who seemed to lose an edge and had his stick almost completely on the ice in an effort to direct the puck in. Bishop made the save.
The tight start was hardly a surprise considering this has been one of the closest Stanley Cup finals. All five games have been decided by one goal, and at no point has either team led by more than one in his series.
The busy first period was filled with hits, too, but was mostly full of missed opportunities. The Lightning managed just four shots against Crawford in the first 20 minutes, though they had quality chances and Hossa may have saved a goal blocking a slapshot late in the period. Chicago failed to cash in on two power plays, dropping them to 2 for 15 for the series. Tampa Bay is 1 for 12 on the power play.
This has been one unbelievably close Stanley Cup Final.
Neither team has enjoyed a two-goal lead through five games for the first time in the history of the series. It is only the second final to begin with five one-goal games, joining Toronto’s 4-1 win over Montreal in 1951.
Each team has 136 shots. The team with the most shots on goal has lost each game. The Blackhawks have blocked 78 shots, compared to 76 for the Lightning. The Blackhawks have scored 11 goals and Tampa Bay has scored 10.
A few more nuggets:
— The Blackhawks are 8-2 at home in the playoffs, and they are 11-1 when scoring first in the postseason.
— Since 2009, Chicago is 41-14 in Games 4 through 7, 12-1 in Game 6s and 15-4 in potential series-clinching games.
— The Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford needs one win to tie Tony Esposito for the franchise lead with 45 postseason victories.
— Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos have each been limited to one assist without a goal in this series.
— If they force a Game 7, the Lightning will become the first team to play 27 games in a single Stanley Cup playoff.
— The Lightning are 3-0 when facing elimination in this postseason.
The family of Stan Mikita says the Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer no longer has memories of his exceptional career on the ice because of a progressive brain disorder. Jill Mikita tells the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1BdOCqo ) her husband “has no idea” he’s missing out on the Hawks’ third Stanley Cup Final series in six seasons.
The 75-year-old Mikita has suspected Lewy body dementia. It’s a progressive disease that causes problems with thinking, movement and behavior. There’s no known cure, but people can live with the disease for a number of years.
Mikita played his entire 22-year NHL career for the Blackhawks, from 1958 to 1980. He was on the team that won the Stanley Cup in 1961 and amassed 541 goals and 926 assists in 1,394 games.
A tornado warning was issued in the Chicago area less than two hours before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Heavy rain drenched thousands of fans streaming to the arena along Madison Street as storm sirens blared. The warning expired at 5:15 p.m. and there were no reports of any touchdowns.
It was calm inside: Members of the Blackhawks were kicking around a soccer ball in the bowels of the arena as usual to keep the mood light before they had a chance to clinch the NHL championship at home for the first time since 1938.
Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen acknowledged it is tempting to let his mind drift, with his 16-year career winding down and his first Stanley Cup in reach.
“It is a mental struggle,” he said before Game 6. “You just have to do mental work. … You go for a walk, you watch a movie, that kind of stuff. You listen to music, whatever makes you get your mind off it. It is a mental struggle. But you still have to, every hour, say to yourself, ‘Stop it.’ There’s a game and it’s a big game and we haven’t won (anything) tonight.”
Chicago acquired Timonen from the Flyers in February. But he missed much of the season recovering from blood clots in his leg and lungs.
Timonen debuted with Nashville in the 1998-99 season and was traded to Philadelphia in 2007. He spent seven years with the Flyers and was on the ice in 2010 when Patrick Kane scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in overtime in Game 6.
“I haven’t thought about it now, but when I got here three months ago, we would talk about it,” Timonen said. “The guys were saying stuff to me about it. But it’s over now. It was five years ago. It was a tough memory, but hopefully, it will be different this time.”
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper continues to be treated well in Chicago.
Cooper, friends with Cubs manager Joe Maddon, had sweet seats near Chicago’s dugout Sunday night at Wrigley Field.
“All I’m going to say is it’s the first pro sporting event that I’ve been to for a long time that I could just sit there, relax, not have a stake in it,” Cooper said. “That was good for my head.”
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley picked up the tab for Cooper, his assistants and the front office staff at Chicago Cut Steakhouse last week, and actor Vince Vaughn did the same two days later.
Maddon managed the Tampa Bay Rays the past nine seasons.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper shot down the idea that the Lightning were approaching this as just another game — not with the season at stake.
“The Stanley Cup’s in the building,” Cooper said. “I can’t believe they would say, oh, it’s just another game. We know it’s just not another game. We haven’t treated those elimination games like that. This is much different than Game 1. You got to win or you go home. On the other side you know what happens if they win. No. I don’t like to sugarcoat anything. This is the reality of the business we’re in. We need to rise to the occasion.”
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