The Blackhawks played their third game in four nights – and last before the trade deadline – and didn’t appear to have much in the tank as the Tampa Bay Lightning walked all over them for 60 minutes.
The final 40 minutes of the game were overshadowed by the news that the Hawks have acquired defenseman Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia. That conversation in social media took fans attention away from an uninspired effort that left goaltender Scott Darling without much help on far too many occasions.
Turnovers and stupid penalties were fatal on Friday night. Teuvo Teravainen tried to bank the puck to himself and failed miserably, leading to Brian Boyle’s goal to get Tampa on the board.
Nine minutes later, the Hawks successfully killed a Duncan Keith penalty – his third of the night at that point – but failed to clear the zone (again). Caught with three defensemen on the ice, Tampa took advantage as Jason Garrison fired a shot at the net that was redirected past Darling by Steven Stamkos.
In the third, Ryan Callahan scored a power play goal to extend the lead, and Stamkos added his second of the night and 34th of the season on a power play later in the closing period. The final goal from Stamkos was a laser that found a tiny window to sneak past Darling.
Keith went to the box for three minor penalties – two at once in the first period and one more in the second – and Kris Versteeg took two penalties in the third, both of which resulted in a Lightning goal.
Chicago’s power play was awful, failing on all three opportunities in the first period. The penalty kill was put to use too many times in the second but performed admirably while short-handed; the Hawks did nothing in the third period to get back into the game. Six penalty kills were too many against the talented – and effective – Tampa power play unit.
Tim Erixon dressed in place of Michal Rozsival for a second consecutive game after taking a couple months off and he did little of note after a decent performance on Thursday night.
Ben Bishop stopped 25 shots to complete the shutout. Over the last two seasons, the Hawks have been shutout five times in 15 games without Patrick Kane in the lineup (7-8-0). Darling made 25 saves in the loss.
The Hawks don’t play again until after the trade deadline on Monday night, but appear to be actively jumping into the frenzy. Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune tweeted during the game that a source told him the Hawks are talking to the Washington Capitals about a deal involving Patrick Sharp, and the Hawks continue to be linked to Arizona center Antoine Vermette in rumors.