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Desjardins: Game 5 was our best effort of Final

Andrew Desjardins - Special to

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In this edition, he provides his thoughts on Chicago's 2-1 victory in Game 5.

TAMPA -- I thought that was our best game of the series.

We played a pretty sound game. After every other game of the series I could think of a bunch of things we needed to improve on, but I can't really think of one after this game.

Still, we know we can be better.


Resilient Blackhawks are one win from another Cup

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 1:10 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The Stanley Cup has long been considered the hardest trophy in all of sports to win. The Chicago Blackhawks are raising the bar on its degree of difficulty.

The fact that the Blackhawks have survived through every piece of adversity they've faced in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and are in position to win their third Stanley Cup championship in six seasons with a victory in Game 6 of the Final on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) is a testament not only to their experience, but also to their conditioning, coaching and depth.

Consider what the Blackhawks have done to date in the playoffs. Take in its totality and try not to be impressed, and quite frankly, amazed that their 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday has them on the brink of what may very well be looked at as a modern-day NHL dynasty.


Lightning's Kucherov leaves Game 5, status unknown

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 1:01 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov did not return to Game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final on Saturday after he was injured crashing into the Chicago Blackhawks net early in the first period.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper did not have an update on Kucherov after the 2-1 loss.

"Actually I thought he was coming back [in the game]," Cooper said. "I just got word he wasn't going to come back. I don't know. He'll be evaluated probably tonight and tomorrow."

Kucherov is second on the Lightning in goals (10), assists (12), points (22), power-play goals (three) and game-winning goals (three) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game 6 is at United Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). Tampa Bay trails the best-of-7 series 3-2.


Vermette overcame tough transition to Blackhawks

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 12:56 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

TAMPA -- Chicago Blackhawks center Antoine Vermette is making up for lost time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Vermette was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes near the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline to be a difference maker. For 19 regular-season games he was anything but, managing three assists.

But the postseason has been a different story.

Vermette scored his fourth goal of the playoffs Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in Game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Vermette put home the rebound of a Kris Versteeg shot two minutes into the third period to provide the winning margin in a 2-1 game.

It was Vermette's third game-winning goal this postseason and second of this series. He scored the game-winner in a 2-1 victory in Game 1 here on June 3.

Lightning goalie Bishop starts Game 5; Drouin in

Saturday, 06.13.2015 / 8:25 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop started Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena.

Bishop took part in warmups, and after the morning skate said he was progressing from an undisclosed injury that prevented him from playing in Game 4. Backup Andrei Vasilevskiy, 20, made his first Stanley Cup Playoff start and made 17 saves in a 2-1 loss that tied the best-of-7 series 2-2.


Blackhawks not concerned with Kane's scoring slump

Friday, 06.12.2015 / 8:16 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

TAMPA -- Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane has the most points on his team in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and is tied for the team goal-scoring lead.

Yet, his "struggles" were a primary topic of conversation when the Blackhawks arrived here for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning (8 p.m.ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) at Amalie Arena. The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

Kane had an assist in Game 4, a 2-1 win by the Blackhawks at United Center, which was his first point of the series. He has not scored a goal since Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks.


Jackman moves on after Blues opt not to re-sign him

Friday, 06.12.2015 / 5:15 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- For the first time since being selected by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 1999 NHL Draft, defenseman Barret Jackman faces the prospect of playing for someone else in 2015-16.

Jackman, 34, will become an unrestricted free agent after being informed by the Blues that they will not re-sign him before free agency begins on July 1.

Jackman was the 17th player drafted in 1999. He spent his entire NHL career with St. Louis and is the city's longest-tenured professional athlete. But with the Blues having failed to advance past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third year in a row, changes were expected; with the emergence of younger defensemen, Jackman will have to explore other options after completing a three-year, $9.5 million contract.

"I think I saw it coming," Jackman said Friday. "They really like the way [Petteri] Lindbohm has played, and [Robert] Bortuzzo has earned a spot too. So I knew I'd be on the outside looking in."


Garrison: Off days provide chance to relax with family

Jason Garrison - Special to

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final. In this edition, he explains the importance of having days off throughout the Final.

BRANDON, Fla. -- Two days off between games in this Stanley Cup Final gives us a lot of time to unwind and just get away from everything for a bit. We all need it. It helps.

We flew home on Thursday, and I probably walked in my door around 1:30 or 2 p.m. I had family that was in Chicago flying back here a little later in the day, so I got home and just cleaned up a little bit, unpacked and relaxed before everybody got in.

I had a massage appointment. Let's call it a sports massage appointment. We have a team masseuse, but at that time of the day they're busy and they've been traveling, so I have somebody I see on a regular basis.

Anyway, that was later in the day, and then my family got in. I had my aunt and uncle in for Game 2, and now they're back along with my cousin and good friend. My dad and sister get in tonight. More family friends are also coming in.


High-scoring Lightning trying to win Cup with defense

Friday, 06.12.2015 / 4:02 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

BRANDON, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are two victories from becoming the first team to win the Stanley Cup in the same season in which they led the NHL in scoring since the 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins.

The irony is that the high-scoring Lightning are trying to win the Cup with defense.

"Obviously scoring goals is a lot more fun than keeping them out of the net," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But keeping them out of the net is what is going to get you the big shiny trophy at the end. They're realizing that.

"If each team is going to get limited chances, I like our odds with anybody we play."


Lightning decided on Vasilevskiy before playoffs

Friday, 06.12.2015 / 3:14 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BRANDON, Fla. -- Were it not for a bold move in early February, the Tampa Bay Lightning might have turned to a different Russian goaltender in Games 2 and 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, now thrust into the heart of the biggest story of the Final, spent much of the 2014-15 season as the No. 3 goaltender on Tampa Bay's depth chart. Veteran Evgeni Nabokov, 39, had been signed to a one-year contract in July to back up Ben Bishop and to give Vasilevskiy more time to develop with Syracuse in the American Hockey League.

Nabokov struggled in limited duty, and when the calendar turned to February the Lightning decided Vasilevskiy's time had arrived. Tampa Bay waived Nabokov and bumped Vasilevskiy, born 19 years to the day after the 39-year-old veteran, up the depth chart.

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Quote of the Day

He's a winner. We want winners here, and he's a proven winner. He's won two Stanley Cups. He's 22 years old and been a big part of it. He's got all the right tools. He's got size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and strength. He's exactly what we were looking for. He's going to be a big piece of our team for many, many years to come.

— Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Brandon Saad, who he acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks on Tuesday