Edmonton, Alberta – Tampa Bay Lightning can be less than 24 hours away from lifting the Stanley Cup.
With their captain, Stephen Stamkus, due to injury, trailing two goals in the first half, the Lightning team rallied to a 5-4 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on Friday night at Rogers Place.
Lightning defender Kevin Shatenkirk scored the match winner in the Power Game. Tampa Bay has now won three games in a row and can win the championship on Saturday night. The consecutive weekend matches are the first in the Stanley Cup Finals since 2009 and only the second since the expansion era began in 1967.
In the extra frame, the teams exchanged chances to play power. The stars fail to take advantage while Mikhail Sergachev is out due to being caught by Tyler Seguin, but Lightning takes advantage when Jimmy Bean is whistled over a tumble call against Tyler Johnson.
The man advantage took a minute and 24 seconds to communicate, when Shatenkirk fired a shot from above the right-facing point and defeated Anton Khudobin on the far post.
Finally, Lightning was 3 versus 4 with the man advantage in the game, while the stars went 0 for 3.
“I think there are a lot of players who did some big plays tonight,” Shatenkirk said. A lot of times you just look at the player who scored the game winning goal, but it took a lot to achieve. We kept it simple on the strength game and good things happened.
“It was a big moment.”
After the second half ended in a draw, the two teams exchanged goals again in the third. Keelorn gave the Lightning team a 4-3 lead, then Joe Pavelski equalized with the stars 8:25 left when his shot hit Andrei Vasilevskiy off the leg of Shattenkirk.
The last 28.3 seconds of regulation was played in 4-on-4, after Corey Perry was whistled to intervene with Brayden Point, who also received a cosmetic minor. Shatenkirk finished it in overtime.
“I was thinking I deserved some kind of good karma for it,” said Shatenkirk. “I felt bad doing that to Fassi, when it detonated after he first tackled. Thanks to them – this was what they were doing to try to put us in our wake, just throw pucks into the net.”
Tampa Bay scored twice, while Yanni Gord and Alex Kilron scored once. Pavlsky scored two goals for Dallas. John Klingberg and Perry also scored.
Vasilievsky, who played every minute of the post-season for Lightning, conceded three goals in his first seven shots, but managed to save 26 overall. He stopped two cheeks 30 of 35 for Dallas.
Dallas coach Rick Bowness is looking for more attacking attacks, and he started his first season with an ever-changing mix of streak combinations.
Early on, both teams settled on strict scrutiny, and Klenberg opened the scoring in the stars’ first shot of the match, an impressive solo effort that came seven minutes and 17 seconds into the first half.
Despite their 8-3 victory in the opening frame, the Stars cemented their lead to 2-0 late in the period when Benn passed on to Pavlsky, who beat Vasilievsky with his 11th goal in the qualifiers.
This led to him being tied as he scored goals after the season ended – for 59 seconds.
The assistant captain, Point, responded by scoring his twelfth goal 33 seconds before the break, after Shatenkirk and Ondrej Balat quickly moved the ice.
“Who knows what would have happened if he hadn’t scored that goal?” Kilorn said. “He scored those goals in all the qualifiers. We depend on the big players to score those goals and they have succeeded.”
Early in the second half, in the power game, Point added his number thirteenth to draw Lightning with a 2–2 draw.
The Superstars regained the lead later in the second when Siguen defeated Sergachev, cut into the net and put the ball back into the crease, bouncing off Vasilievsky’s skate and Perry’s stick.
Then the stars dominated a long period of play, but the teams went to the second break in a 3-3 draw. Gorde scored with a shot in the wrist from the high hole while Andrew Cogliano was serving a minor pinning late in the period.
Friday’s match was the first time in a qualifying round that Lightning was late after one period but returned to victory. They were previously 0-4 in this case.
Tampa Bay is now 7-1 in extra time in the post-season period, including a penalty shootout victory over the Washington Capitals during the Robben Round and a five-time win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to start the first round.
With his team one match away from elimination and the end of their time in the bubble, Pavlski said the mentality of the stars has not changed.
He said, “We thought this was going to be a long chain.” “We just have to go and stretch it now.”
“We will fall back on,” said Bowness. “I have complete confidence in our hockey club. I’m proud of the way we played tonight. We will play tomorrow as we played tonight.”
Lightning coach John Cooper said his players were uncharacteristically quiet in the locker room after the match.
He said, “They were all pumped when he got into the room.” “When I enter, there is usually kidding, and there was no kidding. Guys, they came here to do something.”
“As we said all the time, we haven’t won anything yet. They really think they know what it takes to win a series. We still have to win another one and we’re not taking anything for granted.”
On the injury front, Stamkos was not dressed on Friday after his short but influential appearance on Game 3. And Cooper said Friday morning that Stamkos might be able to dress up at some point before the series finale.
Dallas striker Blake Cuomo missed his second match in a row due to injury, and Radek Fakse missed his sixth game. Another Dallas striker, Rob Hintz, did not return to the game after hitting a hard board during the second half.