Blackhawks lead series 3-2
The Chicago Blackhawks look to capture their third Stanley Cup
championship in six years and first on their home ice since 1938 when
they play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 on Monday. The Blackhawks
put themselves in this advantageous position thanks to trade-deadline
acquisition Antoine Vermette, who scored the eventual game-winning goal
in the series opener before his go-ahead tally exactly two minutes into
the third period stood up in a 2-1 victory in Game 5 on Saturday.
As captain, Jonathan Toews was the first member of the team to celebrate
with the Stanley Cup in both Philadelphia (2010) and Boston (2013) –
and would like the opportunity to hoist the trophy at the Madhouse on
Madison. “Whether we’re one win away or 15 wins away, you come in with
that belief and you know what your team is capable of,” Toews said. “…
It’s a great group, and we understand how unique this group is and how
unique this chance is.” Tampa Bay still has a say in this series and
could force a deciding Game 7 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, although the
availability of Triplets line member Nikita Kucherov is in question for
Monday’s tilt. Coach Jon Cooper said on Sunday that the 21-year-old
Russian is “in considerable better shape today” after sustaining a
shoulder injury by crashing into the post early in the first period of
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Blackhawks -169 with that moving to -166. The total opened at 5.
INJURY REPORT: Lightning – RW Nikita Kucherov (Questionable, upper body). Blackhawks – N/A.
ICE GIRL WAR:
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING: Captain Steven Stamkos, veteran Ryan
Callahan and youngsters J.T. Brown and Jonathan Drouin each saw time
playing along Triplets linemates Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat in the
absence of Kucherov, who ranks second on Tampa Bay in goals (10),
assists (12) and points (22). “He’s a point-per-game guy in these
playoffs. He’s a big part of our offense,” Cooper said of Kucherov. “…
You don’t want to lose guys like that.” Unfortunately for Tampa Bay,
Stamkos is mired in a seven-game goalless drought after recording a
team-best 43 tallies in the regular season.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS: Chicago
is attempting to win its sixth Stanley Cup in franchise history while
becoming the first club to claim three in a six-year period since
Detroit accomplished the feat from 1997-2002. Patrick Kane was named the
2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner after the Blackhawks dispatched the
Bruins in six games, but the superstar has been quiet in this series
(one assist) after recording 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in the
first three rounds. Toews has rebounded following a slow start in the
Stanley Cup final, scoring a goal in Game 4 and setting up Patrick
Sharp’s tally in Game 5.
* Under is 6-0 in the last six meetings in Chicago.
* Under is 4-0 in Lightning’s last four road games.
* Lightning are 4-9 in the last 13 meetings in Chicago.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-nine percent of Covers users are backing the Blackhawks.