CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks did something defensively Saturday they hadn’t done since 1946, but that became only a consolation prize due to the game’s outcome.
Despite holding the Tampa Bay Lightning to zero shots on goal for the opening period on Saturday -- the Blackhawks last did that on Dec. 4, 1946 -- the Blackhawks’ sense of accomplishment was decimated when the Lightning erased a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes of the third period and ultimately won 3-2 in a shootout.
“[The zero shots on goal] means we’re playing well defensively, but, at the same time, we’re not playing to win periods. We’re playing to win games,” Blackhawks forward Ben Smith said. “We’re up 2-0; a little disappointing to come away with only one point tonight.”
The Blackhawks owned the ice for most of the night.
The Lightning’s offense couldn’t find a way to put a puck past the Blackhawks’ skaters to goaltender Corey Crawford for 21-plus minutes. The Blackhawks finished with more blocked shots (17) than the Lightning did shots on goal (16).
On the other end, the Blackhawks’ top three lines were creating chance after chance. The top line of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell and the third line of Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Smith were especially dangerous. Kane and Saad each scored and had five shots on goal, and Bickell had four shots on net.
“I was just talking to [Shaw]; we did everything but finish tonight,” Smith said.
The finishing part was a problem largely due to the play of Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. The hockey gods blessed him on Saturday.
While the Blackhawks were frustrated with the stat line of 39 shots on goal for the home team and just 16 for the Lightning, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville felt fortunate to still come away with a point. He’s witnessed plenty of lopsided games in his career in which the better team actually lost in regulation due to a hot opposing goaltender.
Quenneville was fine with tipping his hat to Bishop and moving on.
“I didn’t mind the way we played,” Quenneville said. “It’s one of those games they got a goalie winning the game. We did what we wanted to do most of the night. A game you play like that, you’ll find a way to get two points [most of the time]. Sometimes, you got a goalie win on the other side and you don’t get a point. That’s a positive we’ll take out of it.”