On Friday night, the Blackhawks fell to the Lightning 5-2 in their second consecutive meeting. Jeremy Colliton's team played their best period of the young season in the first frame. They outshot the Lightning 13 to 10 and generated 15 scoring chances, per Natural Stat Trick. Collin Delia saw his first action of the year, and didn't always look sharp, but got the job done. He stopped all 13 shots he faced and made a great save on a Lightning three-on-two chance.
It was a period any Blackhawks fan would be proud of. They competed hard, manufactured scoring chances, and hung around with the defending champs. However, the second period wouldn't start the same.
Collin Delia fumbled the puck behind the net and the Lightning capitalized to open the scoring in this contest. Tampa Bay tacked on two more goals in nine minutes and all hope seemed lost. Fans were stepping away from the couch to grab another Pabst Blue Ribbon, thinking of what else they can do on a Friday night in the middle of January.
But then Andrew Shaw drew a penalty in the neutral zone and the Blackhawks went to their first power play of the game. Dylan Strome made a great pass to his buddy Alex DeBrincat who buried his first goal of the season.
Under two minutes later, the trio of Strome, DeBrincat, and Patrick Kane jumped back on the ice. DeBrincat forced a turnover, fed Kane in front and he scored on the backhand as only he could do.
Wait. Are the Blackhawks good?
Two minutes into the third period, the Blackhawks went back on the power play but were unable to convert. They hung around for a bit longer until DeBrincat forced a cross-ice pass that the Lightning intercepted and finished off a three-on-two with a goal to extend their lead.
With just over five minutes remaining in the game, the Blackhawks found themselves on the power play. Once again they were unable to convert and Steven Stamkos scored minutes later to secure a 5-2 Lightning win.
Philipp Kurashev made his NHL debut after spending last season with the Rockford IceHogs. He finished the game with two shots on goal in 14:05 of ice time. It was a decent debut, and fans should expect to see Kurashev often this season.
Collin Delia made his first start of the season and the 19th of his career. He finished the game with an .868 save percentage and allowed five goals on 38 shots. It will be interesting to see who head coach Jeremy Colliton turns to next game as both goalies have given up five goals each in their respective first starts of the season.
What's On Tap Next
The Blackhawks stay in Florida and face off against former coach Joel Quenneville and the Panthers on Sunday. That meeting will mark Florida's first contest of the season after their opening series against the Stars was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns surrounding Dallas. The Hawks vs. Panthers Sunday night showdown is scheduled for 7:00 PM CT and will air on NBC Sports Chicago.
Tune in to the Four Feathers Podcast for postgame reactions, analysis, and commentary throughout the season.