By Shane Nicholson
The Blackhawks fell 3-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals paying for wasteful early chances in front of goal to allow the Lightning to open up a 2-1 series lead.
The Blackhawks squandered chance after chance in the first frame, with Marian Hossa and Teuvo Teravainen both missing open nets within moments of each other.
Forward Ryan Callahan recorded the opener for the Lightning just over 5 minutes into the game, latching onto a long outlet pass behind Johnny Oduya before beating Corey Crawford high to the glove side to give Tampa Bay the 1-0 lead.
The Blackhawks bounced back creating chance after chance but were unable to break goalie Ben Bishop down until Brad Richards sent a shot off Bishop’s glove from just inside the blue line on the power play to tie the game at one.
Brandon Saad had a chance saved before it glanced off the outside of the post as the Hawks continued to lay on the pressure, one of their 19 shots on Bishop in the first period.
The second frame saw no goals scored as both goalies set up shot in front of their respective nets. Oduya left midway through after a mid-ice collision with Nikita Kucherov led to a Blackhawks power play.
Bishop gave up a handful of rebounds, unable to control shots as he favored his injured left leg lingering from Game 2.
Crawford looked back on the form that nearly earned him the Conn Smythe in 2013, making 17 saves including a series during a late 5-on-3 for Tampa Bay which saw him called into action.
The Hawks finally opened Bishop up early in the third, with Saad beating him from the high slot to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.
But Tampa Bay responded instantly with Ondrej Palat gathering a Crawford rebound off the face off and shuttling it past the Hawks’ keeper to tie the game at 2-2.
Cedric Paquette gave Tampa Bay the advantage with just over three minutes remaining after the Blackhawks lost a face off deep in the offensive zone.
Tampa Bay was able to see out the advantage after Chicago pulled Crawford to seal the win.