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Blackhawks know they need pucks, bodies at net

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks put 38 shots on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop in Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final but know it wasn't enough.

Despite limited mobility because of an undisclosed injury, Bishop made 36 saves and didn't have to face many rapid-fire shot attempts. He made a lot of first saves and got help from the fortress of Lightning players who cleared pucks out of dangerous areas.

The Blackhawks, who trail the best-of-7 series 2-1, need to make that task more difficult in Game 4 at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I wasn't paying attention to it as much," Blackhawks defensemen Brent Seabrook said of Bishop's injury issues. "I don't know if I just didn't see it or what, but I think you want to continue to do the things that we do. Get bodies to the net. Get pucks there. Try and get good looks and get him moving a little bit. It's pretty much just directing pucks and bodies at the net and trying to make him work in there."

It's something Chicago didn't do enough in Game 3, even during a dominant first period.

Bishop allowed some rebounds in that period, but the Blackhawks failed to create more than a few second-chance opportunities. Twice they failed to score off rebounds with Bishop out of position and the net empty.

Marian Hossa had an open net off the rebound of a Johnny Oduya shot but was tripped while shooting by Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn at 8:11. Less than a minute later, rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen sent the rebound of a shot by defenseman Duncan Keith back toward Bishop, rather than into the large space left open when Bishop slid to his left to make the initial save.

Otherwise, there wasn't a lot secondary action around the Lightning's net.

"We talked about it," said Blackhawks center Brad Richards, who scored a first-period power-play goal. "We're trying to [create havoc]. They're doing a good job too of keeping things to the outside. We'll keep trying to keep peppering him and get him moving."

Failing to do it enough in Game 3 stung the Blackhawks, who lost back-to-back games for the first time in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Seabrook might not have seen Bishop struggling to get to his feet after making a few saves but plenty of his teammates did. They knew they had a goalie on the ropes, at least physically.

"Of course we can see that," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who has one assist in the first three games of the Final. "[Bishop] was fighting just like everyone else in the series. It doesn't mean he’s not going to stop working and making sure he stops the pucks. He made some huge saves. There were some empty nets early in the game that ricocheted or bounced the wrong way, but it is what it is."

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday he hadn't spoken with Bishop and didn't know how he was feeling. There's a chance the Blackhawks will get another opportunity to test him more often Wednesday.

They're confident they can solve him, just as they've solved other goalies during previous series.

"We've run into really good goaltenders in important series in the past," Toews said. "We just chip away and keep working. We have that patience. We always find ways to open the flood gates a little bit."

Creating more action near the Tampa Bay net and forcing Bishop to make sudden, side-to-side movements will be the key this time.

"We're trying to score goals the best way we can," Richards said. "No matter if the goalie is hurt or not we need traffic, we need to get him moving. He's a big goalie. Whatever is going on, he's a big goalie and you've got to get him moving. In the first [period of Game 3], we did a good job with that and normally we come out of that with a couple more goals."

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