Tampa Bay Lightning end Chicago Blackhawks 12-game winning streak

By Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 22, 2016 at 12:43 AM
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TAMPA, Fla. -- In a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup final, the Tampa Bay Lightning extended their winning streak to seven games while ending the Chicago Blackhawks' franchise-record run at 12 with a 2-1 win on Thursday at Amalie Arena.

The Lightning (26-17-4) gave up a goal in the first minute and controlled the rest of the game, limiting Chicago (32-14-4) to a season-low 18 shots.

Right wing Nikita Kucherov's power play goal late in the second period was the winner and Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop had 17 saves.

"They're a really good team, and we had to play extremely well to beat them," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I would trade what happened tonight for what for what they took from us last year.

"We wanted these two points tonight. One streak was ending tonight. I'm glad it was theirs. We have to keep this going."

The two teams previously met in Chicago in October, with the Blackhawks prevailing 1-0 in overtime.

The Lightning killed off two Chicago power plays in the final period to keep the lead and got a power play of their own at 7:22. As the Lightning advanced the puck, Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson came off the bench and blindsided Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan, and the Blackhawks were called for having too many men on the ice.

Chicago scored in the opening minute of the game, but it was Tampa Bay that dominated the first two periods, holding the Blackhawks to nine total shots and taking the lead with 3:21 left in the second.

The Blackhawks scored on their first shot of the game 43 seconds into play, taking the 1-0 lead on center Artem Anisimov's 17th goal of the season, with right winger Patrick Kane getting his 42nd assist on the play.

"They checked real well, all game," Anisimov said. "We need to go harder. (Crawford) is a terrific goalie, made big saves. He made big saves tonight to keep us in the game. We needed to finish."

The Lightning answered quickly, tying the game with 12:46 left as defenseman Anton Stralman redirected a long shot from defenseman Victor Hedman past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford. The goal was Stralman's sixth of the season.

"It was tough," Crawford said. "They played a really fast game, came out hard, had some momentum early on. We made some penalties we could have avoided that gave them even more momentum. We didn't play that bad. It's just they have a lot of skill and when you give a team a lot of chances on the power play, you'd rather be playing five on five obviously."

Tampa Bay outshot the Blackhawks 22-9 in the first two periods, but didn't get the lead back until what amounted to a four-minute power play -- Kane was called for high sticking, and as Chicago killed off the penalty, a pass went to Kane and he touched the puck while he still had a skate in the penalty box, resulting in an interference penalty. With eight seconds left in that power play, Kucherov fired a shot to the top right corner of the net for his 20th goal of the season and a 2-1 lead. Hedman got his second assist of the game, giving him a team-best 24 for the season.

"You play the defending champs, and they've won 12 straight, they've been red hot, but other than that, it was Game 47," Hedman said. "We're looking forward to the next game."

NOTES: The Blackhawks played without RW Richard Panik, who overslept and missed Thursday's morning practice, making him a healthy scratch. Panik had two goals and an assist in five games since being acquired from Toronto. Chicago also had LW Jiri Sekac as a healthy scratch. Sekac, 23, was acquired earlier Thursday in a trade with Anaheim for veteran F Ryan Garbett, 30. ... The Lightning, rotating through their last forward spot, had C Jonathan Marchessault active with RW Erik Condra a healthy scratch. Condra had two penalties in Tuesday's win against Edmonton. ... Tampa Bay D Matthew Carle was a healthy scratch.

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