Blackhawks vs. Lightning Game 5 Preview & Prediction

The Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning are now engaged in what amounts to a best-of-three sprint for the Stanley Cup, with Saturday's Game 5 at Amalie Arena in Tampa leading things off.

Will Ben Bishop be back in net for the Bolts? Can Chicago keep momentum from a stunning Game 4 win? Here's our Blackhawks vs. Lightning Game 5 Preview & Prediction.

Where To Watch: 8:00pm EST on NBC, CBC & TVA

Tampa Key Player: RW Nikita Kucherov

For all the marquee names on both sides in this series, it's Kucherov who's having the biggest minute-by-minute impact in this Stanley Cup Final. He's so active both on the puck and off the puck that opposing blue-liners get visibly winded trying to keep up with him. If he can keep that up, he might be able to take the wind out of the visiting Blackhawks early.

Chicago Key Player: G Corey Crawford

All four games of this Final have been decided by one goal, and Crawford's tenaciousness in net is a big part of that. In Wednesday's win, Crawford surrendered just a single goal while holding off the Lightning with an unreal string of saves with under two minutes left. He's bordered on elite at several points this postseason. If he can do it Saturday, the Blackhawks will be heading back to Windy City in preparations for a closeout game.

What To Watch:

Andrei Vasilevskiy was solid in a Game 4 spot start, but Lightning fans are still holding their collective breath over the status of regular starting goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop is reportedly making strides in his recovery from an undisclosed injury. However, head coach Jon Cooper remains tight-lipped about Bishop's true status for Game 5.

Prediction: Lightning win 5-4

Bishop or no Bishop, the Lightning are going to be skating like madmen after a frustrating Game 4 in the offensive zone. Give the edge to Tampa on home ice in what could easily break down into an old-fashioned shootout.

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