Broken Blue Line Hurting Blackhawks Badly as Lightning Take Control of Cup Final

June 8th, 2015 by Jonathan Willis Leave a reply »

The Chicago Blackhawks have been playing with fire all playoffs. The loss of Michal Rozsival in the second round of the postseason essentially left the team with four trusted defencemen—a precarious position for any team, let alone one in the final stages of a Stanley Cup run.

That delicate defensive situation got worse on Monday, as a Game 3 injury to Johnny Oduya left the Blackhawks with effectively three defencemen in the back half of the contest.

It also led pretty directly to a 3-2 Tampa Bay Lightning victory, a win which gave the Bolts a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

Oduya had his legs knocked out from under him by Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov near the halfway mark of the second period, with Kucherov being penalized on the play. Oduya was clearly in discomfort after the incident, and his ice time plummeted, as we can see when we look at minutes played by Chicago's defencemen in the game's second half:

Chicago's top defencemen have been asked to play an unprecedented amount of hockey lately.

As the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle noted during the third round, no t ...

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