Once again, this was a contest in which the opposition came to Amalie Arena and played a tight, urgent game against the Lightning. In the first period, the Lightning weren't able to match Chicago's urgency level - that disparity was especially evident in three consecutive unsuccessful Lightning power play chances. The 'Hawks were able to cash in for two goals of their own and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
But beginning in the second period, the Lightning raised their urgency level. That trend continued into the third, a frame that had a playoff-like feel. Along the way, the Lightning received an Ondrej Palat shorthanded goal and a Chris Kunitz tally to tie the game. But the most significant change was the Lightning's ability to match Chicago's intensity level. That allowed them to win more puck battles, enjoy more puck possession, use their speed game and generate shots and scoring chances. But Chicago's level didn't really drop, so the 'Hawks also had some Grade-A chances throughout the night. It made for an exciting, edge-of-your-seat contest.
Goalies Andrei Vasilevskiy and Corey Crawford were sensational - and a big reason why only five total goals were scored. Cedric Paquette returned to the lineup after missing 13 games due to injury and his line, with Kunitz and Ryan Callahan, sparked the Lightning with their hard-nosed play. They were puck-hounds and, from the second period on, spent most of their shifts in offensive zone. They also produced the tying goal in the opening minute of the third period. In particular, Callahan had a very strong game, contributing two assists with five hits.
Ultimately, the Lightning earned the extra point thanks to an overtime power play goal for Brayden Point. (The man advantage began after the teams traded wide-open chances during the first three minutes of OT). The 'Hawks' aggressive approach on the penalty kill, which worked so well for them earlier in the game, backfired on the four-on-three overtime kill. A loose puck came around the boards in the Chicago end towards Nikita Kucherov. Both Jonathan Toews and Gustav Forsling converged on Kucherov, hoping to either reach the puck first or force a steal. Instead, Kucherov tapped a quick pass to Vladdy Namestnikov and that created a three-on-one advantage for the Lightning. Moments later, Point slid in a pass from Stamkos for the game-winner.
Thanks to the come-from-behind victory, the Lightning still haven't lost consecutive games this season. Now they begin a tough four-game road trip against the Capitals in Washington on Friday.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Vasilevskiy's third period save on Richard Panik, keeping the game tied at two.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1. Andrei Vasilevskiy - Lightning. 29 saves.
2. Ryan Callahan - Lightning. Two assists.
3. Corey Crawford - Blackhawks. 35 saves.