What: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
When: 7:35 tonight.
Where: Expo Hall, Florida State Fairgrounds.
Tickets: None remain.
TV/radio: Sunshine Network (except Paragon Cable in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk and Manatee counties); WQYK-1010 AM.
Coaches: Chicago _ Darryl Sutter. Tampa Bay _ Terry Crisp.
Players to watch: Chicago _ Jeremy Roenick, center; Steve Larmer, right wing; Christian Ruuttu, center; Chris Chelios, defenseman; Ed Belfour, goaltender. Tampa Bay _ Brian Bradley, center; John Tucker, left wing; Rob Zamuner, left wing; Mikael Andersson, right wing; Rob Ramage, defenseman; Wendell Young, goaltender.
What to expect: The Blackhawks rode their bruising defense to a Campbell Conference title and a surprising berth in the Stanley Cup final.
"They come into your building and try to dominate you," Lightning assistant coach Wayne Cashman said. "They're very physical. They bump and grind and there will be a lot of penalties."
Chicago was the second-most penalized team last season, averaging 33.3 minutes a game. But the Lightning has its share of physical players, left wingers Mike Hartman and Basil McRae and defensemen Joe Reekie and Peter Taglianetti. "We have to be prepared to get hit and to hit back," Cashman said.
You might expect a heavily penalized team to surrender goals en masse. But Chicago, a Norris Division rival of the expansion Lightning, allowed just 236 goals, the second-fewest in the NHL. How? Its penalty-killing unit, featuring Dirk Graham, Brent Sutter, Steve Smith and Chelios stopped 84.2 percent of opponents' power plays, second-best in the league. Sutter is out with an injured ankle and Smith is out with an infected foot, but the Blackhawks should still be stingy. "They're hard working and aggressive and force turnovers," the Lightning's Bradley said. "But we have to take advantage of the 5-on-4s and 5-on-3s."
_ BRIAN LANDMAN