Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford gave up a first-period goal Wednesday to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn, but nothing else as Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final moved past the midway point of the third period.
The problem was his counterpart, Ben Bishop of the Lightning, was working on a second consecutive shutout after blanking the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
As the Lightning continued to carry their 1-0 lead deeper into the game, it became obvious that another goal against Crawford would all but seal the Blackhawks' fate.
Lightning forward Ryan Callahan had the chance to double their lead on a breakaway with 8:24 remaining, but Crawford held strong. The Blackhawks then scored twice in 1:58, rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen scoring the first goal and setting up the game-winner by veteran forward Antoine Vermette, and pulled out a 2-1 win and an early lead in the best-of-7 series.
"Corey made some huge saves for us," forward Patrick Sharp said according to the Daily Herald. "It's playoff hockey and you get big swings in momentum. Sometimes it's the smallest plays that can change it."
As the puck was sent up ice, Callahan raced ahead of Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith to control it and eluded the backcheck of captain Jonathan Toews before skating in alone on Crawford. Callahan tried to shoot between Crawford's pads, but Crawford turned the shot away calmly to the corner and kept Chicago's deficit at one.
"I felt [Callahan] had a little pressure from our defense coming so I was a little more aggressive than usual," Crawford said. "I felt our guy could catch him, so I just tried to take away any net he could find."
Less than a minute later, Teravainen drew the Blackhawks even and they kept the momentum going when Vermette completed the comeback. They'll aim to take a commanding 2-0 lead back to United Center when Game 2 takes place Saturday back at Amalie Arena (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).
Crawford won for the ninth time in 12 starts since the beginning of the Western Conference Second Round.
"Over the years you just learn not to panic," he said. "You just keep working hard and don't panic, and we know we'll get our chances."