SPORTS

Lightning beat Blackhawks in bizarre, back and forth Game 2, even Cup final

06/06/2015 10:16 EDT | Updated 06/06/2016 05:59 EDT
TAMPA, Fla. - Bob Cole was nowhere near Amalie Arena to tell Canada, "Everything is happening." It was anyway.

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final Saturday night exemplified the legendary broadcaster's famous calls. It had a premature goal horn, a wicked pace, a controversial interference call and a mysterious goaltending change.

Plenty of goals helped the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 to even the series at a game apiece. In a game that had countless twists and turns, the young Lightning proved up to the challenge.

"Our guys wouldn't be denied," coach Jon Cooper said. "You got to give those guys a ton of credit."

Tampa Bay withstood the bizarre departure of starting goaltender Ben Bishop not once but twice in the third period. Without much of a warning, Bishop left the ice and had to be replaced by rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Cooper would not say what was wrong with Bishop, but Vasilevskiy was in net for Jason Garrison's game-winner on the power play and stopped all five shots he faced for the victory.

"Every game I'm just ready and if coach tell me to go in, I go in," the soft-spoken Russian 20-year-old said. "Nervous? Just maybe a little bit but after the first couple shots, I feel myself better."

Bishop's exits baffled the Lightning so much that captain Steven Stamkos said they had to listen to public-address announcements to know who was in goal. But that was just one chapter of the chaos.

In the opening minutes, goals seemed so inevitable the goal-horn operator accidentally triggered it when J.T. Brown hit the back of the net. All that followed was a series of seven goals, including one that probably shouldn't have counted.

Cedric Paquette, Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead heading into the third period. Brent Seabrook would tie it early in the third after a controversial goal that left Bishop livid. Chicago winger Marian Hossa appeared to move Bishop's left pad with his stick as Seabrook was shooting.

Because goaltender interference isn't subject to video review, the goal stood.

"This time of year you can't feel sorry for yourself," Lightning winger Ryan Callahan said. "There will be momentum swings. You will find yourself down in game. There is no time to feel sorry for yourself."

Minutes later, with Bishop out of the game, Tampa Bay got the winner on the power play as Garrison's shot through screens beat Corey Crawford.

"It's how you respond after you get scored on or after you score a goal," Garrison said. "Big moments in the game."

Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen found the back of the net in the second for the Blackhawks.

At the big moments, the Blackhawks had their share of strong performances. But coach Joel Quenneville called Crawford's play "just OK," no doubt a reference to the soft goal he allowed to Johnson when the puck went between his right skate and the post.

"It’s frustrating," Crawford said. "It's not good enough, especially when we get momentum. ... We were close. Can't let that happen."

The series shifts to Chicago for Game 3 Monday night at United Center. After a game Stamkos said had the fastest pace of his career, expect more goals and more madness at the Madhouse on Madison.

That building's goal-horn operator should keep the trigger close-by.

"You never know," Stamkos said. "There's so much talent on the ice — you saw it at times tonight kind of back and forth and guys had to make good defensive plays, our goalies are making big saves. But it's tough to keep it down when there is so much out there."

Notes — Jonathan Drouin saw his first action since Game 4 of the Montreal series, playing on the fourth line. Tampa Bay went with 12 forwards and six defencemen, scratching Nikita Nesterov. ... Bryan Bickell was again a scratch for Chicago with an upper-body injury.

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