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game recap

Tyler Johnson sparks Lightning past Blackhawks

Forward scores twice in 30 seconds during four-goal third period

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning scored four goals in the third period, two by Tyler Johnson in 30 seconds, to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 at United Center on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay (22-22-5) tied it 2-2 at 2:47 of the third on a goal by defenseman Nikita Nesterov. Johnson scored at 6:14 and 6:44 for a 4-2 lead. Nikita Kucherov scored into an empty net with 2:05 left.

"It's big for us," Johnson said. "Every point matters right now, so we needed to get that in the third period. We talked about it during the intermission. The Blackhawks are a good team, so we knew it was going to be tough, but we liked our chances the way we were playing the first two periods."


WATCH: All Lightning vs. Blackhawks highlights

Tampa Bay had lost its past three games (0-2-1), but improved to 2-2-1 on a six-game road trip and 8-0-2 in its past 10 regular-season games against the Blackhawks (30-15-5). 

The Lightning had a goal and assist from Brian Boyle, and two assists each from Valtteri Filppula and Alex Killorn. Andrei Vasilevskiy had 34 saves.

"We needed that," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "It was a 2-1 game going into the third and we felt we were getting chances in the game. We just had to stick with it. Give Chicago credit, though. They pressed to get back in, and some nights you need your goaltender to be your best player, and he was tonight."

Video: TBL@CHI: Johnson finishes Killorn's pass in front

Jonathan Toews had a goal and assist, Duncan Keith had a goal and Corey Crawford made 31 saves for Chicago.

The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Blackhawks, who lost in regulation for the first time when leading after two periods (16-1-1). Chicago was 78-0-5 since 2013-14 when leading in the regular season after two periods.

"It hasn't happened a whole lot," Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane said. "Even if we give up that lead we're finding ways to win those games. But tonight it was 2-1 and you're in a good spot, and even 2-2 you're in a good spot … then you give up two quick ones and all of a sudden you're chasing the game." 

Chicago took a 1-0 lead at 10:23 on Toews' goal following a give-and-go with Richard Panik. The Lightning tied it 1-1 at 18:35 when Boyle scored on a breakaway, which Filppula created with a nice play in the defensive zone followed by a pass in the neutral zone.

Keith scored at 1:26 of the second period off a slap shot to make it 2-1, but Chicago couldn't beat Vasilevskiy on 14 shots in the third.


Goal of the game 

Johnson's first goal put the Lightning up 3-2 and rewarded Killorn for a nice drop pass in the offensive zone. Johnson shot past Crawford to the far side from the right faceoff dot. 

Video: TBL@CHI: Johnson goes top shelf on Crawford in 3rd


Save of the game 

Boyle nearly scored a second goal with 2:21 left in the second period, but Crawford made a great skate save to deny his hard one-timer and preserve Chicago's 2-1 lead.

Video: TBL@CHI: Crawford kicks out Boyle's booming one-timer


Unsung performance of the game

Ryan Hartman used a spin move to keep a loose puck in the Tampa Bay zone prior to Toews' goal. He kept the puck away from Nesterov and sent a pass to Toews in the slot to set up the give-and-go play with Panik.

Video: TBL@CHI: Toews taps in Panik's great feed in front


Highlight of the game 

Filppula knocked down Keith's chip into the Lightning zone, then sent a pass to Boyle. Boyle split Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson in the Chicago zone and beat Crawford with a backhand-forehand move.

Video: TBL@CHI: Boyle dekes Crawford to bury terrific goal


They said it

"This is desperation mode for us, and this was a winnable hockey game. We felt every one of these games on this trip has been winnable, and unfortunately we only have two wins to show for it. But a lot of good things came from tonight." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper


"We can't be letting games like that slip away. I think the talk for a long time has been starting games a little bit better. I think we've been seeing that. Obviously, if we're in the right spot, we're in the driver's seat going into the third periods with a lead, whether it's one goal or more than that. We've got to find ways to play better." -- Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews


Need to know

Marcus Kruger (hand) was activated off injured reserve but missed his 11th straight game. … Dennis Rasmussen missed Chicago's morning skate with an illness, but played 11:03. … Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison skated in warmups but sat out his second game with an illness. … Tampa Bay forward J.T. Brown returned after missing seven games with an upper-body injury.

What's next

Lightning: At the Florida Panthers on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, SUN, NHL.TV)

Blackhawks: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CH, TSN3, NHL.TV)


Video: Four-goal 3rd powers Bolts past Blackhawks, 5-2

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