clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Stanley Cup Playoffs wrap up: Stamkos is back, baby!

Your daily recap of the 2020 NHL playoffs.

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs we’ll be keeping track of all the action around the league, and bringing you all of the results in one place.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars

The biggest news coming into this game, as the headline tells us, is that the Lightning got their captain Steven Stamkos back for this one, for his first game in about seven months, and that fact alone sure was a boost to this Tampa team, looking to pull ahead in the series. And that boost was pretty evident from the get go in this one, and it only took them 5:33 to get themselves on the board, when the Lightning forced a turnover which sent Nikita Kucherov in all alone on Anton Khudobin, and beat him with a quick wrist shot. And they weren’t done yet, as just a minute and 25 seconds later, it was who else but Stamkos who took advantage of another Dallas miscue and, looking like he was shot out of a cannon, was able to dodge a check to get a shot on and past Khudobin to put the Lightning up by two. They had the pretty comfortable edge in momentum then, but the Stars weren’t going to go away quietly, and when the Lightning had a chance on the power play midway through the period, the Stars benefited from a defensive zone turnover by the Lightning when they were trying to break out, and Jason Dickinson caught Andrei Vasilevskiy off his angle and beat him shorthanded.

The second period saw the Lightning without Stamkos (he didn’t come out of the dressing room until about the eight minute mark, and then didn’t take a shift for the rest of the game), and the Stars looking to pull themselves back into this game, but the Lightning had other ideas. They had a bit of carryover power play time, and they didn’t waste it, taking advantage of a failed clear and seeing Victor Hedman restoring their two goal lead just 54 seconds into the period. The Lightning would tack on two more in the back half of the period, care of Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat, and the Lightning were just cruising, hitting the second intermission with a 5-1 lead.

So the third period was desperation time for the Stars, as they struggled to salvage something of this performance. They opted to put in Jake Oettinger, whether for a reset or just to give Khudobin a bit more rest before Game 4, and hoped to get something going for themselves offensively. It was a struggle, to be sure, and while they were able to get one back with a goal by Miro Heiskanen just before the seven minute mark, they found themselves frustrated by Tampa’s forecheck through much of the rest of the period. And so things just devolved a bit into a whole bunch of chipiness, and the end of the period saw a couple of penalties handed out as the officials tried to keep things under control. That was the most drama we saw to close things out, and the Lightning came out of this one with a pretty commanding win, and a series lead, to boot.

Final: Tampa Bay 5, Dallas 2
Series: 2-1 Tampa Bay
SB Nation team perspective: TBL | DAL
Highlights: NHL