The Dallas Stars worked it out and hammered home an essential win in Game Five of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final to keep hope alive and hold on to life in the bubble, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a final score of 3-2 in overtime Saturday.
For a time, it seemed like Tampa had the Stars on the ropes.
The Lightning outshot the Stars 41-33, holding Dallas to just one shot in the first overtime frame. Tampa also dominated the game physically, held the faceoffs edge, and spent more time in the offensive zone.
But the Stars held tight and legged it when it mattered most. They blocked more shots than the Lightning (33-18) and managed to hold off the lone Tampa power play, an important step in the right direction considering the dominance of the man-advantage in Game Four.
It fell to one Corey Perry to bookend the scoring for the winning side. He opened with a goal at 17:52 of the first, his fourth of the post-season.
Ondrej Palat took until 4:37 of the second period to respond, tying the game with assists from Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point.
The third period saw scoring from Mikhail Sergachev, his third of the playoffs. Joe Pavelski responded to force overtime at 13:15.
And there was Perry again in the second overtime, ultimately giving Dallas the victory.
The book on the Stars has been that they haven’t been able to find scoring from their top guys. And that’s certainly been true, with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn once again left off the scoreboard. There was a chance for Benn late, but he chose to pass instead of shoot and then took a less-than-workable attempt as a make-good.
Luckily, the support staff has turned up for Dallas. That’s where Perry and Pavelski come in, two veteran dudes who’ve turned it on at the right moment. Pavelski’s goal was his 13th of the post-season, tying him with Tampa’s Point for the lead in the bubble. He’s even atop the list of American players with respect to playoff scoring, but don’t tell him that until he’s hoisted the Cup.
Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin looked markedly better in Game Five, another necessity for his squad after he allowed 13 goals over the last three games. He’s playing the most consecutive hockey of his career and now he’s just the fifth goalie since 1956 to make at least 700 saves in a single playoff run.
Khudobin will have another shot at making his mark Monday, but you can bet the Lightning will want to close this out and head home with the prize. For Tampa, it’ll be just the second Game Six they’ve had to play in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.