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 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3.
CHICAGO -- Coming to Chicago, you kind of know that it's a tough building to play in; it's super loud, especially during the anthem. So there was some talk in our room about trying to make sure we silence the crowd as soon as possible by getting a good start to the game.
We were able to do that with Ryan Callahan's goal early in the first period. But the Blackhawks had a span in that first period when they were definitely in their rhythm and putting it to us pretty well. We were at least able to maintain it, and after the first period we played more of our game more of the time. We came in waves. We had our chances. They had their chances.
This was a very good test for our team and we did a good job with it, we passed. It's pretty impressive how we do keep passing these tests that are thrown our way.
Yes we have some young players, but these guys are very mature in the game of hockey. They succeed under pressure. It doesn't look like pressure even bothers them. They handle it well and it's really, really impressive watching some of these guys play big minutes and make big plays out there.
But we wouldn't have been in position to win this game tonight without the performance of Ben Bishop. He was our first star tonight for sure. He battled. There were times I'm sure where he wasn't feeling 100 percent, but it didn't show at all. He was working hard to see the puck and making huge saves for us. He kept us in it the whole game and was the reason why we won the game.
I know there was some commotion outside of our dressing room about whether Bishop would even start the game, but to be honest I wasn't really focused on that. Not that I wasn't concerned; I was just focused on my game, what I had to do, and I figured that would just take care of itself. Whatever happens, you just go. It's easier to deal with things that way.
We also don't win this game without the plays that Victor Hedman made, both on Callahan's goal and on the winning goal. It's unbelievable what he can do in such a high-tempo game. Obviously he sees the ice extremely well, but he can stay out there and make those plays at the end of his shift too. He's an effortless skater.
I feel like when I'm skating I touch cement every time I stride; he skates and it's like he's floating above the ice. It's a little bit different. He's been incredible.
So now that we won the game, it's time to go back to the hotel, have a team meal and get some rest. I do have some family in town right now, my aunt and uncle, so I'll chat with them for a bit. They don't live here, but they flew into Tampa for Game 2 and now they're here.
But the key thing for all of us is to just have a meal, hang out a bit, try to get some sleep, rehydrate and recover because we have to turn the page quickly. It's an exciting win, a big win for us, but we have to keep doing it. This isn't over yet. It's not close to being over yet.