EDMONTON | Two goals from Joe Pavelski then Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn who scored their first points of the final as well as Corey Perry who made the red light sparkle for the first time in 20 games. To hope to create equality in this series, the Stars needed the awakening of their big guns. They got it, but it was not enough.
Led by two goals from Brayden Point and two assists from Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning won 5-4 on Friday night at Rogers Place in Edmonton. It was Kevin Shattenkirk, 6.34 minutes from extra time, who sealed the outcome of the meeting.
The Lightning was playing in power play, Benn being in the dungeon for tripping Tyler Johnson. The Stars themselves had benefited from a man advantage earlier, even moving 4-3 for 56 seconds.
“I told Victor that if they went for him he could pass me the puck. That's exactly what they did and Vic gave me the puck. Pat (Maroon) played a big game blocking Khudobin's view, ”said Shattenkirk, moments after the game.
Forward 3-1 in this confrontation, the Lightning has never been so close to winning the Stanley Cup since 2004. They will have their first opportunity to lift the precious trophy on Saturday night, when Game 5 is presented.
Hedman in two stages
The two teams offered the most exciting game since the start of this final. Thanks to the two goalkeepers, Anton Khudobin and Andrei Vasilevskiy who at times seemed straight out of a garage league. Without disrespecting David Ayres, of course.
The Stars had made it their mission to make life hard for Victor Hedman. In the opening moments of the match, the tall Swede had his apple tree shaken on a few occasions, ending up on the butt following shoulder shots from Jason Dickinson and Benn.
The strategy has paid off. At least for a while. One of the favorites to carve his name on the Conn Smythe Trophy, Hedman was on the ice for the Stars' first two goals.
On the first, he gave John Klingberg way too much space. The latter had all the latitude wanted to release a throw at the entry of the zone. On the second, Hedman escaped Pavelski in the neutral zone and was unable to catch him before he lodged the puck behind Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Swede recovered by contributing to the winning goal.
Three power play goals
The Stars had therefore managed to beat Vasileskiy twice on three shots. They had not been the most threatening around the net, but the pressure exerted in the back of the territory forced the defenders of the Lightning to rush their actions.
Then, for too long a period, the Stars became again the Stars we have seen since the start of this final.
They allowed Point a goal at the end of the engagement. There is no doubt that this goal, scored 59 seconds after Pavelski's first of the night, gave the Stars a hard blow to the flanks.
Then they saw Jon Cooper's men score three power-play goals, including the one for victory.
In the last three games, the Floridians have scored six goals with one man advantage. This is pretty clear as a warning.
Accomplice of Point's second goal and that of Yanni Gourde, Kucherov has increased his number of assists to 25 since the start of the playoffs. He has become the most productive winger in this column. He broke Mark Recchi's mark with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991.
Only Wayne Gretzky, four times, and Mario Lemieux have achieved more in the same elimination round. La Merveille holds the mark with 31 assists, in 19 games, in the spring of 1988.
The Stars still sold their skin dearly. Rekindled by Pavelski's second goal, which scored 4-4, Bowness's men stormed the Lightning's territory.
They knocked on the door so often that at times Vasilevskiy had no idea where the puck was.
Alex Killorn, with his first in 11 games, has also hit the mark.
+ Brayden Point: He brought the Lightning back to life by scoring late in the first period and drawing a tie early in the second. – Special Units The punishments of the Stars were costly. The Lightning took advantage of three of them to win. Conversely, the Stars were shut out in three massive attacks.
4First period1-DAL: John Klingberg (4) (Lindell) 7:17 2-DAL: Joe Pavelski (11) (Benn, Radulov) 18:28 3-VG: Brayden Point (12) (Palat, Shattenkirk) 19:27 : Oleksiak (Dal) 13:52 Second period 4-VG: Brayden Point (13) (Killorn, Kucherov) AN-2: 08 5-DAL: Corey Perry (3) (Seguin, Janmark) 8:26 6-VG: Yanni Gourde (7) (Kucherov, Sergachev) AN-18: 54 Punishments: Oleksiak (Dal) 1:38; Cernak (TB) 11:10; Cogliano (Dal) 17:34. Third period 7-VG: Alex Killorn (5) (Sergachev, Cirellli) 6:41 8-DAL: Joe Pavelski (12) (Seguin, Heiskanen) 11:35 Penalties: Maroon (VG) 9:16; Perry (Dal) 19:31; Point (TB) 19:31. Overtime9-VG: Kevin Shattenkirk (3) (Hedman, Maroon) AN-6: 34 Penalties: Sergachev (VG) 0:37; Benn (Dal) 5:10. TAMPA BAY 8 – 15 – 8 – 4 – 35 DALLAS 3 – 14 – 11 – 2 – 30 Goalkeepers: VG: Andrei Vasilevskiy (L, 17-6). Dal: Anton Khudobin (P, 13-9). Numerical advantages: VG: 3 in 4, Dal: 0 in 3. Referees: Francis Charron, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen: Brad Kovalchik, Steve Barton.