The Latest: Chicago's Vermette adds 2nd Cup game-winner
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The latest from Chicago's 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final:
Antoine Vermette has scored twice in the Stanley Cup Final series against Tampa Bay. And both have been third-period, game-winners.
The late-season addition sealed a 2-1 win in Game 5 by converting a rebound two minutes into the third. His other goal came with 4:34 left in a 2-1 win in Game 1.
The Blackhawks now head to Chicago, where they'll have a chance to win their sixth title, third in six years, and first in the Windy City since they did that in 1938. It won't be easy in a series in which neither team has enjoyed a two-goal lead, and all five games have been decided by one goal. All three of Chicago's wins have been 2-1 margins.
No Stanley Cup Final has ever had more than five games decided by one goal.
Don't count out the Lightning being down 3-2. They were in the same position against Calgary in 2004 before winning Games 6 and 7 to claim the franchise's only title.
Since 2009, Chicago is 7-1 in Game 5s, and improved to a combined 17-1 in Games 5-7.
Antoine Vermette converted a rebound two minutes into the third period to secure the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 win and a 3-2 series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.
Patrick Sharp also scored for the Blackhawks, who are one win from their sixth championship in franchise history, and third in six years. Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots, including all 15 he faced in the third period.
Game 6 is at Chicago on Monday.
Valtteri Filppula scored for the Lightning, who have lost consecutive games following a 2-1 loss at Chicago on Wednesday.
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop stopped 27 shots, and showed few signs of an undisclosed injury that forced him to miss Game 4.
Kris Versteeg set up the decisive goal by driving up the right wing. Though he couldn't get a shot off, Versteeg slipped a pass into the crease, where Bishop kicked the puck into the slot. It went directly to Vermette, who snapped it in.
Now it's goalie Ben Bishop's turn to make some big stops to keep the Lightning in a game they trail Chicago 2-1 with 7 minutes left in the third period.
Off a turnover in the Lightning end, Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins was set up alone in the slot only to have his shot turned aside by Bishop's blocker with 10:20 left.
Two minutes later, Bishop got his glove out just in time to stop Teuvo Teravainen's shot on the fly up the left wing.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have an 9-2 edge in shots eight minutes into the third period, but have not been able to cash in against Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.
Brenden Morrow had the best chance 90 seconds in when he was set up alone to the left of the net, only to be foiled by Crawford, who got across just in time to make the stop. Some 30 seconds later, Antoine Vermette converted a rebound to put the Blackhawks ahead 2-1.
The Lightning have bounced back from a flat first period in which they were outshot 14-5 to take a 26-24 edge.
Antoine Vermette converted a rebound two minutes into the third period to put the Chicago Blackhawks ahead 2-1.
Kris Versteeg set up the goal by driving up the right wing, only to have the puck chipped off his stick as he was attempting to get off a shot. Versteeg recovered in time to slip a pass into the middle, where goalie Ben Bishop kicked it into the slot. The puck went directly to Vermette who snapped it in the open side.
The power-play units for both the Blackhawks and Lightning have lacked spark this series.
Both are 0-for-1 through 40 minutes in Game 5.
The Lightning have converted just 1 of 12 opportunities this series, and are 0 of 7 over the past eight periods.
The Blackhawks have gone 2-for-12 with the man advantage.
Both teams have scored 10 goals each this series, though the Lightning have outscored the Blackhawks by a combined 5-3 margin in the third period.
Buckle up! The Blackhawks and Lightning are delivering yet another barnburner in a series in which the first four games were decided by one goal.
Tied at 1 through 40 minutes, this game is following a familiar course. The decisive goal in each of the first four games were scored in the third period.
The Lightning bounced back from a sloppy first period in which they were out-shot 14-5. In the second period, Tampa Bay had a 12-8 edge in shots, and tied the game on Valtteri Filppula's goal midway through the frame.
Coming off a 2-1 loss at Chicago on Wednesday, the Lightning are 8-1 when coming off a loss this postseason.
The Lightning have won 7 of 10 games that were tied after two periods this postseason. The Blackhawks are 6-3.
It's 1-1 after two periods. No surprise the Lightning have pulled even in a series that has yet to have either team enjoy a two-goal lead.
It's not as if the Blackhawks didn't have their chances before Valtteri Filppula tied the game at 1 midway through the second period.
Some four minutes earlier, Kris Versteeg was set up for a one-timer in the slot, only to have goalie Ben Bishop get his glove up in time to bat the puck away.
The Lightning are still playing minus forward Nikita Kucherov, who has not returned since crashing headfirst into the post of the Blackhawks net during a scoring chance five minutes into the game.
Kucherov is second in NHL playoff scoring with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists).
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula scored 10:53 into the second period to tie the game against the Blackhawks at 1-1.
It came with the Lightning applying pressure in the Blackhawks zone and after defenseman Anton Stralman got to a loose puck along the right boards. He skated to the middle and had the puck skitter to the left boards to teammate Jason Garrison.
Garrison fed a pass through the middle to Filppula, who was parked below the right circle. Filppula one-timed the shot from a bad angle before goalie Corey Crawford could get across.
The Lightning's bumbling ways have carried over into the second period.
Chicago nearly took advantage of another miscue in the opening minute when Tampa Bay defenseman Braydon Coburn was attempting to skate the puck out of the corner when he slipped and fell in the circle 47 seconds in. Chicago's Brandon Saad pounced off the loose and got off a shot that was stopped by Ben Bishop.
Then Lightning forward Cedric Paquette was penalized for hooking.
The Blackhawks managed just two shots on goal on the game's first power play but couldn't score. They're now 2 of 12 with the man advantage in the series.
Chicago's Patrick Sharp scored into an open net in the first period after Bishop collided with Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.
Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop's fine after stopping 13 of 14 shots in the opening 20 minutes. He's not getting much support from the rest of the team in his return after missing Game 4 with an undisclosed injury.
The Lightning came out flat, in managing just five shots on goal and are down 1-0.
Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, who has one assist in his last six games, was held without a shot in just over seven minutes of ice time.
The Blackhawks are 6-0 this postseason when leading after the first period, and 10-1 when scoring first.
The Lightning, by comparison, are 1-6 in the playoffs when down entering the second period.
The Lightning are down a forward after Nikita Kucherov crashed headfirst into post of the Blackhawks' net during a scoring chance in the first period.
It happened 5:05 in, when Chicago goalie Corey Crawford attempted to make a pass from the end boards and somehow failed to see Kucherov coming. The pass hit Kucherov in the chest and bounced to his skates, steps away from the empty net.
Crawford frantically dived back to his crease and reached out his stick to stop Kucherov's shot. Kucherov couldn't stop and tripped over the goalie before crashing into the post.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper told NBC from the bench that he believes Kucherov hurt his neck.
''I suspect he'll be back,'' Cooper added. ''He's a tough kid.
Patrick Sharp has provided the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead 6:11 into the first period by scoring into an empty net after Lightning goalie Ben Bishop collided with defenseman Victor Hedman while attempting to play a loose puck.
Bishop had left his crease and skated into the circle to his right to play the puck at the same time Hedman was skating in from the opposite direction, with Sharp trailing. Hedman got a piece of the puck, which was enough for Bishop to miss it before the two crashed into each other.
The puck continued on through Bishop's legs. Sharp got to it, turned toward the net and scored into an empty net.
Bishop, who missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, stayed in the game after being examined by a Lightning trainer.
The Blackhawks needed less 80 seconds to start testing Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, who returned after missing Game 4 with an undisclosed injury.
Brandon Saad took the first shot from the lower left circle, and then followed up in an attempt to convert a rebound after Bishop coughed up the rebound.
And the Blackhawks kept coming, managing the game's first seven shots on net through the first 3:20.
Though Bishop gave up several rebounds, he was quick to cover the puck to force a whistle
Lightning rookie forward Jonathan Drouin is back in the lineup for Game 5 to make only his second appearance in the Stanley Cup final.
He replaces defenseman Nikita Nesterov, meaning coach Jon Cooper is going with more of a traditional lineup of 12 forwards and six defensemen. Nesterov appeared in three of the first four games of the series.
The Blackhawks had no lineup changes, with defenseman Kimmo Timonen playing his second straight game after sitting out the previous five.
There has been little star power during the Stanley Cup Final.
Captain Jonathan Toews (a goal and assist) and Patrick Kane (one assist) have combined for three points for the Blackhawks.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has one assist in his past six games dating to the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers.
''Just sticking with it,'' Stamkos said. ''Obviously, I expect more from myself. And hopefully it will come out today and help our team win.''
The first four games of the Stanley Cup Final have been so tight, it is hard to tell who has the edge in play.
Each of the first three games featured two lead changes. Neither team has yet to enjoy a two-goal lead. Each team has scored nine goals.
The first four games were decided by one goal. Should Game 5 be another one-goal margin, it would mark only the second time to happen in the final. Toronto beat Montreal in 1951 in a series in which all five games were decided in overtime.
The Lightning have enjoyed a lead for a little over 92 minutes, while the Blackhawks have had the lead for just over 25 minutes.
The team which wins Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead is no sure bet in the Stanley Cup Final.
Teams winning the fifth game with the series tied at 2 have gone on to win the championship 16 out of 23 times since 1939, when the final series was expanded to a best-of-seven format.
And yet, of the past seven times the final has been tied at 2, the Game 5 loser has gone on to win the title four times. That includes the Lightning in 2004, when they won Games 6 and 7 to beat the Calgary Flames.
Seems as if NBC boss Mark Lazarus has a number of NHL players and fans in a lather over his observations regarding playoff grooming.
''I've been nothing but the butt of the joke on Twitter for the last 24 hours,'' Lazarus said on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday.
Lazarus got nicked following a remark he made to The Chicago Tribune suggesting NHL players could be more marketable if they were clean-shaven during the playoffs.
Don't expect the razors to come out until after the Stanley Cup is hoisted, though.
''I think it's a great part of the playoffs,'' Lightning forward Cedric Paquette said this week. ''Maybe for TV is would be a bit better, but for us hockey players, we don't care.''
The 1980s New York Islanders teams are credited for beginning the beard-growing playoff tradition. However, Willie Plett and several Philadelphia Flyers players wore beards throughout the season in the mid-1970s.
Goalie Ben Bishop has led the Tampa Bay Lightning onto the ice for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, indicting he will start.
Bishop missed Game 4 and skipped Friday's practice with an undisclosed injury, but spent 15 minutes on ice during Tampa Bay's morning skate for Game 5.
The Lightning apparently decided the 53-game winner is healthy enough to play against the Chicago Blackhawks. The series is even at two games apiece.
Bishop said he believes ''there's progress being made'' on the injury. Rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy was on the ice as Bishop's backup after starting Game 4.
Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final isn't the only Chicago-Tampa Bay matchup taking place in Florida on Saturday. Earlier in the day, the Chicago White Sox met the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
According to research by the Rays' public relations staff, it's the first time since May 9, 1971, that a city or market has hosted both a Stanley Cup Final game and a major league game between teams from the same cities on the same day.
That day in Montreal, major league baseball's Expos defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-3 at Jarry Parc Stadium, and the Canadiens defeated the Blackhawks 4-2 in Game 3 at the Montreal Forum. The Canadiens went on to win the series in seven games.
Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa is playing in his 193rd playoff game Saturday night, which ties the 36-year-old for 22nd place with Craig MacTavish.
''He's a big part of those reasons that this team is in the finals and has a chance to win here,'' Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. ''I'm fortunate to coach a guy like him because he really sends the right message to play the right way.''
Hossa is second among active players in both playoff points and assists.
''He's just the ultimate hockey player, the ultimate teammate, the ultimate human being,'' Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said. ''He's a special guy. You look at him, he seems ageless. I love having him around the locker room and I love just being his friend and watching him on the ice too. He's definitely a privilege to play with.''