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.
We were back in action last night for the first game of a back-to-back in the Cup Final (because why not?), and this sure was a fun one! The Stars were looking to even the series back up, and they got themselves out to an early lead, when John Klingberg got a chance on the rush, got off an initial shot that was blocked and then picked up his own rebound and chipped it past Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning held a bit of the edge in possession, but it was the Stars who were opportunistic again, and Joe Pavelski made the most of a defensive breakdown and extended their lead to two with under two minutes to go in the period. But the Lightning weren’t going to go away quietly. With just 33 seconds left in the period, Kevin Shattenkirk found Ondrej Palat with a stretch pass in the neutral zone, who got it to Brayden Point to spring him on a breakaway, and he beat Anton Khudobin after a stellar bit of stick handling to get Tampa on the board.
The second period saw the Lightning continuing to pick up momentum, and they tied things up early on thanks to a power play goal by Point, for his second of the night. The Stars were able to pull a bit of momentum back in their favor, and a hard working play allowed them to restore their lead, with Corey Perry picking up a goal, parked in the slot just over six minutes later. But, once again the Lightning were not going to go away quietly! With a power play to work with late in the period, they got a bit of a lucky bounce, when Esa Lindell went to block a shot and had the puck kick into the slot and straight to Yanni Gourde, who had a lot of open net to shoot at, and we had a tied game again.
The story of the third period is twofold. We had some thrilling bits of scoring, first when Alex Killorn pushed the Lightning into the lead just past the six minute mark, and then the Stars were able to buckle down and get one back themselves, with Pavelski picking up his second of the night just past the midpoint of the period. Then we had a bit of, shall we say, drama happening in the final moments of the period, when Perry got a stick up between the legs of Point, and the officials called Perry for that, and Point for embellishment... for some reason. Surely you saw some of the ire about that if you were on Twitter. Anyway, moving on...
And because it seemed inevitable that the first game of a back-to-back would go to overtime, that’s exactly what happened! The Stars got an early power play to work with, looking to close this one out early, but the Lightning kept them pretty well frustrated and killed that one off. And so the Lightning stayed alive, got a couple more chances at even strength, and then would get a power play of their own to work with, when Jamie Benn was called for tripping Tyler Johnson. And with how this power play has been heating up, it’s no surprise how this turned out—it was a shot from Kevin Shattenkirk that beat Khudobin through traffic, and the Stars are suddenly on the brink.