Lightning pulls even
LIGHTNING 4, BLACKHAWKS 3
Tampa Bay holds off Chicago to tie Stanley Cup finals at a game apiece.
tampa — Two goalies taking turns in the crease in the third period. A low-scoring defense-man getting the biggest goal of all.
The Tampa Bay Lightning found some strange ways to even the Stanley Cup finals.
Jason Garrison scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 11 minutes 11 seconds to play, rookie goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy relieved Ben Bishop twice to earn the victory, and the Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3, in Game 2 on Saturday night to even the series.
Nikita Kucherov had a goal and anassist for the Lightning, which played with all the aggression it lacked in the third period of Game 1 when Chicago rallied late to win.
Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette also scored for Tampa Bay, which curiously made three goalie changes in the third period. The 20-year-old Vasilevskiy made five saves in 9:13 to earn his first NHL playoff win.
Game 3 is Monday night in Chicago.
Vasilevskiy has 16 regular season games of NHL experience, and he had played in just two games since March 31. But the Russian came in for 92 seconds before Garrison scored the go-ahead goal, and he returned to finish the game with 7:41 to play, earning the victory.
The Lightning didn’t say why Bishop left the game, came back and left again. He complained of interference on Brent Seabrook’s tying goal early in the third period, but played on.
Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen scored 2:16 apart early in the second period for the Blackhawks, who couldn’t follow up their Game 1 comeback with another.
Just over five minutes after Seabrook scored, Garrison put the Lightning ahead when his shot deflected off a Chicago player in front of Corey Crawford, who stopped 20 shots in an uninspiring effort. The goal was just Garrison’s second of the postseason.
With his jarring No. 88 jersey and 45 previous minutes of NHL playoff experience, Vasilevskiy handled his surprise assignment splendidly. He made an outstanding pad save with less than five minutes to play as Tampa Bay killed a penalty, and he stayed strong to wrap up the victory.
The Lightning again showed off the resilience that got it to this lofty height, improving to 4-0 in Game 2 of its four postseason series after going 1-3 in Game 1. Tampa Bay has lost two straight only once in the entire playoffs.