The Stanley Cup Finals are officially all tied up as the Chicago Blackhawks got the 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to extend the series. Now the two teams head back down to Tampa Bay for a critical Game 5 as Chicago has the momentum in the series.
The Finals has been one of the closest in recent history as the last four games have all been decided by one goal while neither team has led by more than one goal at any point during the games. That is likely to be the trend in Game 5. The Lightning are hoping to respond with the home-ice advantage after displaying strong defense that frustrated the Blackhawks long enough, but the team still pulled out the critical win.
The good news for Tampa Bay would be the return of Ben Bishop. Andrei Vasilevskiy certainly held his own against the seasoned veterans of Chicago, but having Bishop back will be a welcome sight for Tampa Bay. The goalie participated in morning skate and is predicted to play. Bishop has the experience that Tampa Bay needs. The team realizes they lack the championship knowledge of the Blackhawks, but they are making it work.
"What we lack in their Stanley Cup experience and gold medals at the Olympics, we make up for in our youthful enthusiasm and speed," said Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness, via NHL.com."For either one of us to think we're going to go out there and control 60 minutes of the game, this is my opinion, I just don't see it happening. There are moments in each of the four games that we were in control of it, and there are moments, like the second period [Wednesday] night, that they were in control of it. You have to give credit to both teams. We're good hockey clubs."
The Blackhawks are looking to make history. They have the opportunity to clinch the series at home if they can get a win on the road Saturday. Their past two titles have come on the road and the team is well aware they could earn a third in five years back in Chicago, but winning Game 5 is a necessity.