The Blackhawks looked poised to take a statement win at the United Center after 40 minutes of play, but managed a point in a frustrating overtime loss to the defending-champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
"Frustrating result because I thought we played really, really well for 48-50 minutes of the game," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We weren't ready to match the urgency, the desperation (early in the third)… it's tough because we don't get paid off for how we played for most of that game, and that hurts you."
Video: CHI Recap: Blackhawks earn a point in 3-2 OT loss
Here are three takeaways from the overtime loss:
UP AND DOWN
After a scoreless opening frame, the Blackhawks looked in firm control of the game in the second period, with goals from Ryan Carpenter and Alex DeBrincat to take a 2-0 lead just past the halfway point of the game.
A well-expected push from the Lightning to start the third saw the visitors tie things up just 2:55 into the frame, starting with a shorthanded goal off an Anthony Cirelli deflection in front and soon followed by a piece of Steven Stamkos skill off a faceoff win.
Chicago stabilized for the remainder of regulation, eventually taking a point as 60 minutes wouldn't solve the third meeting between the two teams.
"I thought we played well most of the game," said DeBrincat. "Start of the third period, we let that one up on the power play, but I thought the last 10 was pretty good."
"We played really well the first two periods. We played really solid hockey, just the way we're supposed to play and the way we can play our best," Lankinen said. "They got a deflection goal, a little bounce (on) the first one, probably gained some momentum out of that. Just a funny bounce the second one too, kind of. I think that's just hockey. Momentum swings happen. We showed some character though and played well at the end of the third. Pushed the momentum in their end and had some really good chances. Even in overtime, we had a couple good chances, but it was just not our night tonight."
Video: DeBrincat on last-second loss to TBL
BY A HAIR
After a back-and-forth overtime frame with a combined eight shots on goal and a touch of iron apiece, the game appeared to be headed to a shootout -- that is until Victor Hedman's shot from the point found its way through traffic and crossed the goal line with a fraction of a second left on the game clock, crossing the line with 0.1 seconds showing officially.
After some initial confusion and a confirmation from the situation room in Toronto, the Lightning skated off the UC ice in victory.
"It's tough," DeBrincat said of the defeat. "They did a good job to get that shot off. I know Kaner was all over him. Just squeaks through. Unfortunate bounce. We've just got to come back ready to play tomorrow and hopefully get two points."
BACK FOR MORE
The Blackhawks won't have to wait long to try and bounce back, with Tampa Bay back in town on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.
The overtime loss hasn't deterred the confidence in a locker room, particularly when you contrast the first two games against the Lightning with the majority of Thursday's performance. If anything, there's more confidence than ever that the Blackhawks are on the cusp of the right mix given the strong stretches of the game in Chicago.
"Coming into this series, we knew that if we keep playing our 'A' game, we have a chance against anybody," Lankinen said. "I think maybe the result wasn't there tonight, but the effort was there for sure. That's encouraging and we want to build on that tomorrow."
"Yes," Colliton said when asked if he expects his team to bounce back stronger. "We need to respond with the same work ethic, the same skating, the same attention to detail that we had for most of the game and find a way to keep that detail in our game all the way home."