Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will be blogging for NHL.com periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final. In this edition, he talks about the Lightning's 2-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4.
CHICAGO -- No one thought it was going to be easy.
That's the way the game goes. You can feel like you played really well and still come up short in the end. That's how we feel right now. But that's also why it's not the first to two wins, it's the first to four.
We need to make sure that we're sticking to the same game plan, come out the same way we came out tonight and continue to build on what gave us success and learn from some things that we maybe could do better.
As a team we've been in this position before, but the biggest thing is you can't ride the roller coaster. I've mentioned this in a previous blog, when you win you have to turn the page and you have to do the same thing when you lose. It's never easy, but it has to be done.
This is a tough one to swallow, losing here, losing the opportunity to move within one win of winning the Stanley Cup, but we have to move on. As you'll hear many times in the coming days, now it's a best two out of three, and two of those games are at home for us. That's good.
We have to make sure we can come back here up 3-2.
But man, in saying all of that, we had a lot of pressure at the end of the game tonight and we really had our chances. Their goalie came up with some big saves, some defensemen made some big plays out there for them, got some sticks in the lane. Hey, that's the way it goes.
We still can build on this. We can't sulk on it. It was a good performance. We need to be positive about the way we played. It might sound difficult, but you can be positive in a loss. There is a lot of positive things that we did in that game.
We got our scoring chances. We had good looks at the net. We defended well. We held them to two shots in the first period. We controlled a lot of that game. We just couldn't find the back of the net enough.
More often than not, when we get our chances our forwards can put it in the back of the net. It didn't happen tonight. We'll stay positive.
As for the goalie situation, which I know had to be very interesting for all of you out there, I didn't find out that Andrei Vasilevskiy would be starting instead of Ben Bishop until just after I got to the rink.
Coaches make sure that everybody gets the word once they make that final decision. They start telling guys when they find them. There are two buses to the rink and guys don't get here all at once, so they walk around and make sure everyone is aware of it.
For us, though, we can't prepare any differently. You have to prepare the same way and make sure you're helping him out as much as possible.
You have to talk to him, support him, make the easy play just so he can get a feel for it. It's a tough spot to be put into, but that's why he's here. He's a professional and he did a really good job tonight.
I'm not sure who will start Game 5 on Saturday, but I can tell you we have confidence in him. I can also tell you it won't be easy in Game 5. We've obviously learned that nothing ever is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.