A goal by Chicago forward Teuvo Teravainen tied the score at 13:28 of the third period and teammate Antoine Vermette took advantage of a Tampa Bay turnover to score the winner at 15:26, lifting the Blackhawks to victory before a loud and lively crowd at Amalie Arena.
Since the Stanley Cup Final went to a best-of-seven format in 1939, the team that has won Game 1 has won the Cup 58 of 75 times (77.3%).
Game 2 will be played Saturday at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning scored the only goal of the first period on a remarkable individual effort by Alex Killorn.
Valtteri Filppula sent the puck up the boards and to the right point, where defenseman Anton Stralman received it and shot it. The puck appeared to be going wide of the net but Killorn, with his back to the net, showed his quick and clever hands by blindly deflected the fluttering puck past goaltender Corey Crawford’s glove at 4:31 of the opening period.
Filppula and Stralman were credited with the assists on Killorn’s eighth playoff goal. The feat also gave Killorn the distinction of becoming the first product of the Harvard hockey team to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Final, according to the Harvard Crimson and College Hockey Inc.
The Lightning had 10 shots in the first period compared to seven by the Blackhawks.
Chicago had two power plays early in the second period but couldn’t get anything going on either advantage. Killorn was sent off for hooking 28 seconds into the second period and the Lightning was caught with too many men on the ice at 9:48, but the Blackhawks couldn’t take advantage. Fans at Amalie Arena, who were lively and started spontaneous chants, followed their custom of booing the opposing team’s power play and gave the Lightning a loud ovation when the penalties were killed.
The Lightning got a power play at 13:28, when Chicago forward Kris Versteeg was sent off for interference, but Tampa Bay mustered only one shot.
The Blackhawks began to control the puck in the third period, and it finally paid off late in the period. They tied it at 1-1 when Teravainen whipped a shot past a screened Ben Bishop, and they took the lead at 15:26 after Teravainen forced a turnover by J.T. Brown. Vermette, in the high slot, ripped a shot just under the crossbar to stun the crowd.
Tampa Bay pulled Bishop in favor of an extra attacker in the final seconds but couldn’t score on the calm, collected Blackhawks.