Tampa Bay began Game 4 in the the same way they started Game 3: with tenacious pressure that suffocated the Blackhawks offense. Rookie Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't face a single Blackhawks shot for almost half the period, and Chicago only mustered two shots on net in the frame. But Chicago goalie Corey Crawford kept things clean at the other end, blanking the Lightning despite a deluge of shots.
In fact, the Blackhawks were the first team to get on the scoreboard. Shaking off the Lightning's strong start, Chicago managed to beat Vasilevskiy midway through the second period when Jonathan Toews slipped the puck in at the side of the net. It was the Blackhawks captain's tenth goal of the playoffs.
Tampa Bay struck back quickly, however. Valtteri Filppula centered a swift pass from behind the net for Alex Killorn to bury in order to tie the game again at 1-1. That score would hold until late in the third period, when Chicago winger Brandon Saad scored a messy goal to give Chicago a game-winner and a tied series.
3 things we learned
1. Brandon Saad is going to get paid this summer
The Blackhawks winger will become a restricted free agent this summer, and his playoff performance will pay off handsomely (and literally) in a couple of months. Saad scored the game winning goal in Game 4, his eighth of the playoffs. He has a knack for scoring momentum-changing goals in big moments, and Chicago will be hard-pressed to keep teams away from him.
2. Chicago's power play leaves plenty to be desired
It's been a popular refrain this season: How can a team with the offensive prowess of the Blackhawks be so inept on the man advantage? So far in the playoffs, the power play is an obstacle the Blackhawks have been unable to overcome. Much of it is self-inflicted; sloppy passes and giveaways generally led to poor execution in Game 4.
3. Vasilevskiy is up for the challenge
The Lightning turned to their rookie netminder after ruling Ben Bishop out with a lower body injury, and the youngster was excellent in his playoff debut. Granted, he didn't face a shot for the first seven minutes, and his teammates kept the tough shots away from him most of the game. But you can't ask for much more than what the 20 year old gave Tampa Bay on Wednesday.