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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick & Prediction JAN 15TH 2021

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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Recap JAN 15TH 2021

Chicago rookie Dominic Kubalik netted his first career hat trick, and the Blackhawks scored five times in the third period to rally to a 5-2 win over the host Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Down 2-0 in the third period, Chicago grabbed its first lead when defenseman Slater Koekkoek -- a 2012 first-round draft pick by Tampa Bay -- scored midway through the frame.

Brandon Saad notched a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who won for the first time in three games. Corey Crawford registered 36 saves.

Chicago improved to 8-2-1 against the Atlantic Division this season, splitting the two-game season series against Tampa Bay.

Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each recorded a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who lost a season-long fourth consecutive game for the first time since January of 2017. Curtis McElhinney stopped 22 of 26 shots.

Playing without captain Steven Stamkos, Pat Maroon and newly acquired Blake Coleman, the Lightning dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

Scoreless after one period, Crawford kept the match scoreless with a denial of Alex Killorn's breakaway attempt 1:32 into the second, and the two-time Stanley Cup winner made another point-blank save as Carter Verhaeghe tried to score from the slot to finish a two-on-one rush with under seven minutes remaining.

Point finally broke the scoring drought when he circled through the offensive zone and zipped in his 23rd tally from the high slot that beat Crawford on the glove side at 15:31 to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

Kucherov took a diagonal pass through the slot from Point and rifled home his team-leading 31st marker just 17 seconds into the third period for a 2-0 edge.

With the tally, Point has recorded points in 13 of the last 14 games he skated in. He did not play in the team's 5-3 loss against the Golden Knights in Vegas last Thursday. Kucherov has 29 points in his last 18 games, scoring in 12 straight and six straight with one game missed in between.

Saad shoved in his 20th goal on a rebound at 4:36, and Kubalik tied it 2-2 by putting in his own putback just 26 seconds later to tie it at 2. Koekkoek's long shot slipped through McElhinney's pads for Chicago's first lead at 9:56.

Kubalik scored two more times, once into an empty net, as Chicago potted five goals in a span of 12:53. Kubalik leads all rookies with 29 goals.

--Field Level Media

Steven Stamkos stepped into a time machine of sorts when he hopped on Tampa Bay's ice Wednesday night.

The Lightning star forward, who has battled injuries over the past 11 months, returned to action and looked like his old self in the season opener, scoring a goal and banking two assists in a dominant 5-1 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

As the teams prepare to conclude their two-game series Friday in Florida, much of the talk is about the play of the defending Stanley Cup champions' captain.

The three-point night by Stamkos, 30, was a familiar sight.

By zipping home a missile on the power play in the second period for a 4-0 lead and helping on goals by linemates Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat, Stamkos produced his 237th game with multiple points.

The two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner and six-time All-Star had last played a full game against Toronto on Feb. 25. After core muscle surgery, he came back and logged 2:47 of ice time in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against Dallas on Sept. 23 -- scoring a goal in a 5-2 win -- in his lone postseason appearance.

"This is the best I've felt in a long time," Stamkos said. "It was nice to get out there. Playing with Point and Palat makes life a little easier for sure. I haven't played a lot of hockey for a long time, so it was a good start."

Coach Jon Cooper has to replace sidelined superstar Nikita Kucherov (hip surgery) for the entire regular season, and he said he was glad to see the familiar No. 91 set up in the left circle on the power play.

"Goal scorers are used to scoring goals," Cooper said. "I was really happy that he was able to score tonight because you put him back in, and in a power-play spot he hasn't been in for a while, and it's a confidence thing, and so the sooner he can get it, the better."

The Blackhawks will need to regroup in a hurry, primarily on the back end and in goal.

Chicago was outshot 33-23 as the Lightning put constant pressure on goaltender Malcolm Subban. He allowed all five goals, but Subban turned in a couple of highlight-reel saves that prevented the outcome from being much worse.

"He made some good saves," Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Obviously five go in, he's not going to be happy.

"Certainly not the way we wanted to start the year. Gave up too many chances and too many goals."

The Lightning have won nine of their past 10 regular-season meeting with the Blackhawks, with Chicago's lone win coming in a 5-2 decision at Tampa Bay last Feb. 27.

Chicago will continue to be without injured forwards Kirby Dach (wrist surgery) and Jonathan Toews (illness), who were placed on long-term injured reserve Thursday.

--Field Level Media

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GAMES

Last 10

W 20% L 80%
2 8
  • Detroit W 1 - 4
  • @Florida L 4 - 5
  • @Florida L 2 - 5
  • @Tampa Bay L 2 - 5
  • @Tampa Bay L 1 - 5
  • @Vegas L 3 - 4
  • Vegas W 1 - 3
  • Vegas L 2 - 1
  • @Vegas L 3 - 4
  • @Vegas L 1 - 4
W 78% L 22%
7 2
  • @Columbus W 3 - 2
  • Dallas D 0 - 0
  • Chicago W 2 - 5
  • Chicago W 1 - 5
  • @Dallas W 2 - 0
  • Dallas L 3 - 2
  • @Dallas W 5 - 4
  • @Dallas W 5 - 2
  • Dallas W 2 - 3
  • Dallas L 4 - 1

Next Games

  • Detroit(01-22-21) W 1 - 4
  • @Nashville(11-16-19) W 7 - 2
  • @Nashville(11-16-19) W 7 - 2
  • Columbus(10-18-19) W 2 - 3
  • @Columbus(01-21-21) W 3 - 2
  • @Carolina(01-05-20) W 3 - 1
  • @Carolina(01-05-20) W 3 - 1
  • Nashville(10-26-19) L 3 - 2

Last Meetings

  • Blackhawks @ Lightning 2-5
  • Blackhawks @ Lightning 1-5
  • Blackhawks @ Lightning 5-2
  • Lightning @ Blackhawks 4-2
  • Blackhawks @ Lightning 2-4
  • Lightning @ Blackhawks 6-3
  • Lightning @ Blackhawks 2-0
  • Blackhawks @ Lightning 2-3
  • Blackhawks @ Lightning 4-5
  • Lightning @ Blackhawks 5-2

Eastern Conference

AtlanticWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Montreal Canadiens3017 0-0-03-0-02416L13-0-0
Tampa Bay Lightning3006 2-0-01-0-0135W33-0-0
Toronto Maple Leafs3206 2-0-11-0-11515L13-0-2
Florida Panthers2004 2-0-00-0-0106W22-0-0
Boston Bruins2115 1-0-01-0-199L22-0-1
Detroit Red Wings2204 2-0-20-0-0910L12-0-2
Ottawa Senators1213 1-0-20-0-01114L31-0-2
Buffalo Sabres1302 0-0-21-0-11112L11-0-3

Western Conference

CentralWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Winnipeg Jets3106 1-0-02-0-11310L13-0-1
Minnesota Wild3106 0-0-03-0-1119L13-0-1
Nashville Predators2104 2-0-10-0-0107L12-0-1
St. Louis Blues2104 1-0-01-0-11015L12-0-1
Colorado Avalanche2204 1-0-11-0-11410L12-0-2
Chicago Blackhawks0311 0-0-00-0-3920L40-0-3

Eastern Conference

MetropolitanWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Philadelphia Flyers3106 3-0-10-0-01916L13-0-1
New York Islanders3106 2-0-01-0-196L13-0-1
Washington Capitals2015 0-0-02-0-01514L22-0-0
New Jersey Devils2104 1-0-01-0-1911L12-0-1
Carolina Hurricanes2104 0-0-02-0-196L12-0-1
Pittsburgh Penguins2204 2-0-00-0-21418L22-0-2
New York Rangers1202 1-0-20-0-088L11-0-2
Columbus Blue Jackets1224 0-0-01-0-21016L21-0-2

Western Conference

PacificWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Vegas Golden Knights4008 4-0-00-0-0167W44-0-0
Calgary Flames2015 2-0-00-0-0116L12-0-0
San Jose Sharks2204 0-0-02-0-21314L22-0-2
Edmonton Oilers2304 1-0-31-0-01316L22-0-3
Vancouver Canucks2404 1-0-11-0-31828L12-0-4
Los Angeles Kings1124 1-0-10-0-01213L31-0-1
Anaheim Ducks1213 1-0-10-0-1610L11-0-2
Arizona Coyotes1202 1-0-00-0-21216L21-0-2

Last Injuries

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Blake Coleman

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Coleman is on the injured reserve list while going through the COVID-19 protocol, and he will miss an undetermined length of time.

  • Curtis McElhinney

    Personal
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    McElhinney is going through the league's COVID-19 protocols, and will be out for an unknown length of time.

Chicago Blackhawks

  • Jonathan Toews

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Toews has been shuttled to the long-term injured reserve list due to an illness, and he is without a definitive timetable for recovery.

  • Kirby Dach

    Wrist
    Late May | I-R

    Dach has wound up on the long-term injured reserve list after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right wrist, and he is expected to miss four to five months.

  • Brent Seabrook

    Back
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Seabrook has been posted to the injured reserve list due to a lower-back injury, and team officials have yet to provide an exact return date.

  • Zack Smith

    Back
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Smith has been assigned to the injured reserve list with a back injury, and team officials have yet to provide an exact return date.

  • Alex Nylander

    Knee
    Early June | I-R

    Nylander has been placed on the long-term injured reserve list while recovering from surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee, and he is expected to be sidelined for four to six months.