Thanks to Kevin Shattenkirk’s overtime goal in Game Four, the Tampa Bay Lightning are a win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup in the bubble.
The Lightning defeated the Stars 5-4 in the critical fourth game of the series and now hold a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Game Four was an interesting one, but in the end Tampa took advantage and Shattenkirk polished things off 6:34 into overtime. It was the Lightning’s third power play goal of the night.
The Stars needed more in Game Four and looked to be off to a great start, scoring two goals on their first three shots.
Goaltending was not particularly a factor for either squad, with Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy allowing four goals on 30 Dallas shots.
Stars goalie Anthon Khudobin didn’t fare much better and looked to have trouble at various points of the night. One wonders if fatigue is a factor, especially given his less-than-stellar puck-handling.
Dallas’ John Klingberg opened the scoring with his fourth of the playoffs, while Joe Pavelski doubled up his team a little over 10 minutes later.
But Tampa struck before the end of the first period, with Brayden Point lighting the lamp on a blistering rush play bolstered by a brilliant Ondrej Palat pass. Point scored again two minutes into the second period, his team’s first power play goal of the game.
Corey Perry responded thanks to Tyler Seguin’s efforts in the crease, but it was back to Tampa and Yanni Gourde for the next goal – another power play marker.
Alex Killorn started the scoring in the third, while Pavelski found twine for his second of the game to ensure overtime.
Dallas held the edge in faceoffs by a fair margin, but they coughed up opportunities everywhere else and took costly penalties. Tampa was three for four on the man advantage, while the Stars went zero for three.
And as if to hammer it home, Jamie Benn’s critical – and ridiculous – penalty in overtime wound up leading to the game-winner for the Lightning.
The Stars have their work cut out for them to make a go of it in this series and we could well see the Cup awarded Saturday night when Game Five takes place.
Image: Codie McLachlan/Dallas Morning News