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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 5th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (0-1-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (1-0-0), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Only 23 more games to go for the Chicago Blackhawks.
While nobody expects the defending Stanley Cup champions to match their season-opening point streak from a season ago, the 'Hawks will try to begin this campaign with a second straight victory as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Chicago opened the lockout-shortened campaign with a 21-0-3 run, the longest season-opening point streak in NHL history. The Blackhawks made sure it didn't go to waste by winning the fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history and second in four years by besting the Boston Bruins in six games during the Finals.
After raising their latest championship banner ahead of Tuesday's opener against the Washington Capitals, the Blackhawks rallied from a goal down in the final period with a trio of markers to finish off a 6-4 win.
Brandon Saad tied the game just over two minutes after Washington had gone ahead on Mikhail Grabovski's third goal of the game, Johnny Oduya put the 'Hawks ahead with 6:07 to play and Marian Hossa was credited with an empty-net tally after getting hauled down on a breakaway.
Saad added two assists, while Brent Seabrook, Brandon Bollig and Patrick Kane notched goals. Corey Crawford made 28 saves.
As Chicago began defense of its title, Oduya said it was nice to get closure on last season's run to the Cup with the raising of the championship banner.
"Obviously the whole last year (goes through your mind). The things we did as a team, the whole summer with the Cup and all the celebrations, it kind of puts everything together," said Oduya.
"In the same way, it might sound weird, but it's nice to kind of get an ending on it and start a new year, which is something we have to do. We can't look at last year, we have to move forward."
The Lightning, meanwhile, continue a tough stretch in which they open the season with games against the two conference champions. They visit the Blackhawks after losing a 3-1 decision to the Bruins on Thursday.
Valtteri Filppula had a goal in his Tampa Bay debut, but the Lightning went 0- for-5 on the power play and yielded two short-handed goals, one on a penalty shot.
"You can go months without giving up two short-handed goals. Here we are giving up two in a game. That's the frustrating part because that ended up being the difference in the game," said Bolts head coach Jon Cooper.
Anders Lindback made 22 saves in the setback.
"Five-on-five you couldn't say one team is better than the other," Cooper said. "Both teams had their chances and I didn't think we gave up too much. Aside from the power play I was really happy with the way we played."
The Lightning play the second of a season-opening, three-game road trip and have dropped eight in a row as the guest dating back to last season.
Tampa has won three straight over the Blackhawks, two of those past regulation. The Lightning notched a 2-0 victory in their last trip to Chicago on April 3, 2011.
10/05 10:28:16 ET