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Blackhawks survive late Lightning surge to tie series

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 11:30 AM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

With each game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final ending in a one-goal differential, the outcome has hung in the balance until the final seconds of play.

Game 4 Wednesday in Chicago was no exception.

The Chicago Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead thanks to a lucky goal, as forward Brandon Saad described it, 6:20 into the third period. The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extra attacker in the final minutes to try and create a bit of their own luck.

With a little more than a minute left in the game, Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya blocked a shot in front of his goalie Corey Crawford and the puck bounced to Lightning forward Alex Killorn. He settled the puck and passed to forward Steven Stamkos in the slot. Stamkos one-timed it with Crawford sprawling above his crease, leaving the net wide open. Stamkos' shot looked as though it would even the score, but Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook waved his stick in the lane just in time to deflect the puck and send it left of the goal post.

Cup Final reunites Maine alumni Bishop, Darling

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 9:20 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Ben Bishop was a junior goaltender at the University of Maine, the starter for a highly ranked team with national championship aspirations, when he spent a weekend as the host for a potential recruit, a tall kid like himself who also hailed from a non-traditional source of amateur talent.

Bishop, a 6-foot-7 goaltender from just outside St. Louis, connected pretty quickly with Scott Darling, a 6-foot-6 goalie from just outside Chicago. Darling enjoyed the recruiting trip and eventually committed.

Seven years later, they are on opposite sides of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks, which is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). Bishop started the first three games for Tampa Bay before missing Game 4 with an unspecified injury; Darling has not seen action in the series for Chicago.

"[Bishop] really took care of me," Darling said. "I was really nervous. He took me out for some food, showed me kind of the ins and outs of campus. [The hockey players] were the big guys on campus, so it was fun to hang out with them. I watched them play that weekend, and he had two great games. I experienced the college life a little, and it made me excited to go there."

Konecny used hockey to develop socially, physically

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

There was a time when the anxiety of meeting new people outweighed the joy of playing hockey for Ottawa 67's forward Travis Konecny.

"I didn't really want to play hockey," he said. "When I was a little kid I was afraid of the people in the locker room. So my parents told me playing hockey would help alleviate that fear.

"I'm so glad I stuck with it because now I'm more outgoing and I couldn't imagine hockey not being a part of my life."

It's certainly worked well for Konecny. In two seasons with the 67's, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound right wing/center had 55 goals and 138 points in 123 regular-season Ontario Hockey League games.

Lightning look on bright side despite Game 4 loss

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 1:35 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- There is rarely solace in a loss, especially when the stakes are as high as they are in the Stanley Cup Final.

But the Tampa Bay Lightning were looking at the bright side of life after a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday in Game 4 evened the best-of-7 series at two victories each.

"We could have won every game so far," Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman said.

Garrison: Lightning can build on Game 4 loss

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 1:34 AM / Player's Blog with the Lightning's Jason Garrison

Jason Garrison - Special to

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final. In this edition, he talks about the Lightning's 2-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4.

-- No one thought it was going to be easy.

That's the way the game goes. You can feel like you played really well and still come up short in the end. That's how we feel right now. But that's also why it's not the first to two wins, it's the first to four.

We need to make sure that we're sticking to the same game plan, come out the same way we came out tonight and continue to build on what gave us success and learn from some things that we maybe could do better.

Blackhawks' Saad continues to shine in Cup Final

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 1:28 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Brandon Saad's goal was memorable, his speed burst on the game-winner remarkable, but his defensive play in the final minute of Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final was indelible.

The Chicago Blackhawks clung to a one-goal lead by their fingertips in what turned out to be a 2-1 victory at United Center on Wednesday to tie the best-of-7 series 2-2.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman got the puck at the right point with 37 seconds left in the third period and readied for a wrist shot. Saad read Stralman's mind, dropped to a knee and blocked the shot with his right skate, sending the puck out of the Blackhawks zone to burn some precious time.

"He's one heck of a player," Chicago forward Andrew Desjardins said. "He's got the skating ability, but it's also smarts, and he's one of those guys [who] sacrifices himself to do the right things. He's the total package. Big goal [he scored], but just a huge block too. That block with 20, 30 seconds left, or whatever it was there … huge."

Quenneville's line changes pay off for Blackhawks

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 1:26 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

CHICAGO -- The line shuffle is often seen as a hockey coach's first resort, an attempt to swing momentum or switch unfavorable matchups or get slumping offensive stars going.

For most coaches, however, their options with their forwards are often limited because of defined roles for certain players or lines that are clicking well and should remain intact.

Luckily for the Chicago Blackhawks, coach Joel Quenneville has no such limitations.

With a forward group that is among the most talented in the NHL, Quenneville can create a diverse combination of lines that can severely change the look of his team.

Vasilevskiy shows why Lightning confident in him

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 1:11 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Word started to spread through the Tampa Bay Lightning on the way to United Center a few hours before puck drop.

On the team bus, in the dressing room, from coaches to players, everyone eventually found out the hard truth, that No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop would not be even dressing for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, that 20-year-old rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy would be starting instead.

The reaction was pretty much the same from everyone. It was telling.

"There's not much thinking that goes on other than [Bishop] has been huge for us all year and you feel bad for him that he can't be a part of this," center Brian Boyle said. "When it comes to confidence in our goaltending, it's there for both guys."

That confidence, which the Lightning have emphatically stressed since before Game 3, when there were questions about Bishop's availability, is validated now after Vasilevskiy made 17 saves on 19 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at United Center.

Lightning say goalie Bishop will play again in Final

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 12:20 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop will play again in the Stanley Cup Final, coach Jon Cooper said Wednesday after Bishop was scratched from Game 4.

Bishop, who has an undisclosed injury, was replaced by rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 17 saves in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

"[Bishop] is going to play again in this series, there's no question," Cooper said. "I just don't know which game."

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2, with Game 5 at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). Game 6 is here on Monday.

Lightning's Vasilevskiy prepared for Final spotlight

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 12:10 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has already traveled a long road to make his impact on the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

Vasilevskiy, who won Game 2 with a third-period relief appearance, started Game 4 and lost 2-1 to  the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

Vasilevskiy made 17 saves Wednesday after making five without allowing a goal in 9:13 of ice time when Tampa Bay won Game 2, 4-3, on Saturday. Bishop, who has an undisclosed injury, won Game 3 3-2 on Monday.

Vasilevskiy, a 20-year-old Russian, has been working toward this moment for years.

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
World Cup of Hockey 2016