HomeMiddle EastSports

Lightning Have Championship in Sights After Winning Third Straight Game

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Tampa Bay Lightning could be less than 24 hours away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.

With their captain, Steven Stamkos, out because of an injury, and after falling behind by two goals in the first period, the Lightning rallied for a 5-4 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on Friday night at Rogers Place.

The Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game winner on the power play. Tampa Bay has now won three straight games and can win the championship on Saturday night. This weekend’s back-to-back games are the first in the Stanley Cup finals since 2009 and just the second since the expansion era began in 1967.

In the extra frame, the teams traded power-play chances. The Stars failed to capitalize while Mikhail Sergachev was off for holding Tyler Seguin, but the Lightning took advantage when Jamie Benn was whistled for a tripping call against Tyler Johnson.

The man advantage took a minute and 24 seconds to connect, when Shattenkirk snapped a shot from above the right face-off dot and beat Anton Khudobin just inside the far post.

All told, the Lightning were 3-for-4 with the man advantage in the game, while the Stars went 0-for-3.

“I think there are a lot of guys who had some big plays tonight,” Shattenkirk said. “A lot of times you just look at the guy who scores the game-winning goal, but it took a lot for us to get there. We kept it simple on the power play and good things happened.

“It was a big moment.”

After ending the second period tied, the teams traded goals again in the third. Killorn gave the Lightning a 4-3 lead, then Joe Pavelski drew the Stars even with 8:25 remaining in regulation when his shot bounced past Andrei Vasilevskiy off Shattenkirk’s leg.

The last 28.3 seconds of regulation were played at 4-on-4, after Corey Perry was whistled for interfering with Brayden Point, who also received a minor for embellishment. Then Shattenkirk ended it in overtime.

“I was thinking I deserved some sort of good karma for that,” Shattenkirk said. “I felt bad for doing that to Vasy, when it goes off you after he makes the first save. Credit to them — that was what they were doing to try put us on our heels, just throwing pucks to the net.”

Point scored twice for Tampa Bay, while Yanni Gourde and Alex Killorn each scored once. Pavelski had two goals for Dallas. John Klingberg and Perry also scored.

Vasilevskiy, who has played every minute of the postseason for the Lightning, gave up three goals on the first seven shots he faced, but he rallied for 26 total saves. Khudobin stopped 30 of 35 for Dallas.

Looking to shake more offense out of his forwards, Dallas Coach Rick Bowness had started the first period with an ever-changing mix of line combinations.

Early on, both teams settled into a tight-checking style, and Klingberg opened the scoring on the Stars’ first shot of the game, an impressive individual effort that came seven minutes and 17 seconds into the first period.

Despite being outshot 8-3 in the opening frame, the Stars extended their lead to 2-0 late in the period when Benn feathered a pass through to Pavelski, who beat Vasilevskiy for his 11th goal of the playoffs.

That tied him for the postseason goal-scoring lead — for 59 seconds.

The co-leader, Point, replied by notching his 12th with 33 seconds left in the first period, after Shattenkirk and Ondrej Palat quickly moved the puck up ice.

“Who knows what would have happened if he doesn’t score that goal?” Killorn said. “He’s been scoring those goals all playoffs. We rely on the big guys to score those goals and they’ve been coming through.”

Early in the second, on the power play, Point added his 13th to draw the Lightning even at 2-2.

The Stars retook the lead later in the second when Seguin outmuscled Sergachev, cut to the net and fed the puck back into the crease, where it pinballed off the skate of Vasilevskiy and onto the stick of Perry.

The Stars then controlled a long stretch of play, but the teams went to the second intermission in a 3-3 tie. Gourde scored on a wrist shot from the high slot while Andrew Cogliano was serving a hooking minor late in the period.

Friday’s game marked the first time in the playoffs that the Lightning had trailed after one period but came back to win. They’d previously been 0-4 in that situation.

Tampa Bay is now 7-1 in extra time in the postseason, including a shootout win over the Washington Capitals during the round robin and its five-overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to start the first round.

With his team one game away from elimination and the end of their time in the bubble, Pavelski said the Stars’ mind-set hadn’t changed.

“We thought this would be a long series,” he said. “We’ll just have to go and extend it right now.”

“We’ll bounce back,” Bowness said. “I have full faith in our hockey club. I’m proud of the way we played tonight. We will play tomorrow like we played tonight.”

Lightning Coach Jon Cooper said his players were uncharacteristically calm in the dressing room after the game.

“They all got pumped up when Shatty walked in the room,” he said. “When I walk in, there’s usually banter going on, and there was none. The guys, they’ve come here to do something.”

“Like we’ve said all along, we haven’t won anything yet. They truly believe that they know what it takes to win a series. We’ve still got to win one more and we’re not taking anything for granted.”

On the injury front, Stamkos did not dress on Friday after his brief but impactful appearance in Game 3. Cooper said on Friday morning that Stamkos might be able to dress at some point before the end of the series.

Dallas forward Blake Comeau missed his second consecutive game because of injury, and Radek Faksa missed his sixth. Another Dallas forward, Roope Hintz, did not return to the game after crashing hard into the boards during the second period.


Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close
Close