NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, October 24th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (6-1-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (5-3-0), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Chicago Blackhawks aim for a sixth win in seven games when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning for Thursday's clash in Central Florida.
The defending Stanley Cup champions head into Thursday's battle at Tampa Bay Times Forum with a 5-0-1 record over their last six outings. Chicago has won its last two games since dropping a 3-2 shootout decision against St. Louis and is coming off Tuesday's road victory against the Florida Panthers.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp scored in the shootout to help the Blackhawks record a 3-2 win over the Panthers and bail out teammate Patrick Kane. Kane had a prime chance to end the contest in overtime, but missed the net wide of the right post with a backhander on a clean breakaway with less than 80 seconds remaining.
Toews and Bryan Bickell tallied in regulation, with Corey Crawford adding 20 saves.
"We had some good goaltending from (Crawford) in the shootout," Toews said. "It's nice to win one in the shootout."
The victory improved Chicago's road record this season to 2-1-0, but the Blackhawks haven't won in Tampa since a 5-3 triumph at the Forum on Feb. 17, 2009. Since then, the Lightning have taken the two encounters in Tampa, winning both contests after regulation.
All told, the Bolts have claimed four straight and six of their last nine games against Chicago, including a 3-2 shootout win earlier this season in the Windy City.
The Lightning will try to rebound from a lopsided loss tonight after getting slammed 5-0 on Saturday by the visiting Boston Bruins. Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots and five different Boston players scored goals for the Bruins.
Meanwhile, previously undefeated goaltender Ben Bishop was chased from the game for Tampa. Bishop had won all five of his starts this season, allowing just eight goals in all, but was pulled late in the second after giving up four scores on 17 shots in defeat. Anders Lindback finished the contest with four saves.
"That wasn't the way we wanted to play, especially at home in front of our fans," said Bishop. "We can play a lot better, and we will."
Bishop expects to get the start in Thursday's contest. He helped the Lightning beat the Blackhawks on Oct. 5, stopping 37 shots through regulation and overtime before stopping Toews, Kane and Marian Hossa in the shootout.
The Lightning are playing the sixth part of a seven-game homestand tonight. Tampa is 3-2-0 during this home stretch and will close the residency Saturday against Buffalo.
10/24 10:56:47 ET