Blackhawks Lightning into Game 6
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) he invites the opportunity to hoist the trophy at the Madhouse on Madison on Monday, 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 Game 5.
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), unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Stamkos is mired in a seven-game goalless drought after recording a team-best 43 tallies in the regular season.
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.