The relative youth of the Tampa Bay Lightning has been a question throughout their run to the Stanley Cup Final.
But when faced with adversity during Game 3 of the Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Lightning showed how much resiliency they've gained.
Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad scored on an open look from above the hash marks to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead at 4:14 of the third period.
Rather than wilt the Lightning pushed right back 13 seconds later.
While the Blackhawks and their fans still were celebrating Saad's goal, Lightning defenseman Matthew Carle forced Blackhawks forward Marcus Krueger to turn the puck over in the neutral zone. Lightning forward Tyler Johnson grabbed the loose puck and as he cut to the middle of the ice sent it ahead to Nikita Kucherov, who cut wide on Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya deep on the right side of the offensive zone. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped Kucherov's sharp angle shot but left the rebound loose on the ice. Lightning forward Ondrej Palat drove to the net and swept the puck under Crawford before he could freeze it with his glove.
"Yes we have some young players, but these guys are very mature in the game of hockey," Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison wrote in his NHL.com blog. "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."
The Blackhawks admittedly were deflated by the quick swing in momentum back to the Lightning.
"It [Saad's goal] is a great play, a great goal," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "All of a sudden you get momentum. … You can't give up that type of goal."
The play lifted the Lightning, and when Cedric Paquette scored at 16:49 of the third, the Lightning had a 3-2 win and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series, with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).