Flash Points: Lightning's season comes to close with Game 6 loss

BY foxsports • June 15, 2015

Fast. Frantic. Furious.

A final result.

The Chicago Blackhawks claimed their third Stanley Cup title in six years with a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night at the United Center. Defenseman Duncan Keith scored in the second period and winger Patrick Kane produced a goal in the third as part of a tight, entertaining Game 6. The Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup on home ice since 1938 in claiming the series 4-2.

"It's a tough stretch," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman told reporters in Chicago. "It's a big grind to get this far. But I'm proud to be a part of this organization. We had a lot of things going on this year."

The Lightning had hoped to force a Game 7 on Wednesday at Amalie Arena. They weren't without their chances, including a prime one for center Steven Stamkos during a one-on-one situation against goaltender Corey Crawford in the second period. However, like with many opportunities Monday, inches separated Tampa Bay from a score and its prolonged offensive frustration.

"It's just unfortunate, because if you were to tell me the reason we're not hoisting the Cup right now is because our goal-scoring dried up, that's probably the last thing any of us would have thought," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said on the Sun Sports postgame show. "They threw everything at them. They tried and tried. It was a post here, a mistake here, a save here. We kept throwing everything at them."

Game 6 followed a familiar pattern from previous Chicago victories in the series. Before Monday, the Lightning had been held to one goal in each of their defeats in the Stanley Cup Final.

Crawford made 25 saves. Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop, meanwhile, was strong in defeat with 30 stops.

Afterward, Bishop revealed that he suffered a torn groin in Game 2 of this series.

"It's hard," Bishop told reporters in Chicago. "I feel like we could be on that ice right now celebrating as well. Every game was so close. It came down to a couple bounces. And obviously, we didn't get some of them. They're a good team, and they worked hard."

With their championship-clinching result, the Blackhawks forced the Lightning into a third consecutive defeat for the first time all season. Before Monday, Tampa Bay had lost consecutive games just one other time in the postseason, when the Lightning dropped Games 4 and 5 against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

This time, though, no recovery occurred, and Tampa Bay was denied a Stanley Cup title. Still, this Lightning season will be remembered for a long while.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Steve Yzerman, the Lightning's vice president and general manager, said on the Sun Sports postgame show. "It's hard to get to the Final. It's even harder, obviously, to win the Cup when you get here. We've got lots of work to do. But the whole experience has been really good for the guys."

THE TURNING POINT

Keith's goal was the difference. Before then, there was brilliant goaltending from both sides.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Give Crawford credit. He stood tall when the Blackhawks needed him most.

STAT OF THE GAME

It's remarkable that the Lightning didn't lose three consecutive games all season until Monday. That trend stood as a testament to their consistency.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Lightning end a memorable season two victories short of a Stanley Cup title.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.



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