Antoine Vermette scored in the third period to earn Chicago a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five, giving the Blackhawks the chance to clinch the Stanley Cup on home ice on Monday.
Vermette shoveled in a cross-ice pass from Kris Versteeg to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven finals on Saturday, deflating a Tampa Bay crowd that had been bolstered by the return of goal-tender Ben Bishop after he missed Game Four with an undisclosed injury.
Chicago, who had been outplayed early in previous games during the series, came out hard on Sunday, testing Bishop from the start and carrying a 14-5 advantage in shots in the first period.
“I thought our start was something we haven’t seen in the first four games, which was good,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville told reporters.
“We had some more time in the offensive zone and we weren’t having to play in our own end.”
Chicago, gunning for their third Cup in six years, will get the chance to clinch the title at home for the first time since 1938 on Monday.
“This is it. Now there’s no margin for error,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper.
“But as I said before, we’re still alive. This is not near over.”