Following in the Dallas Cowboys’ footsteps on Sunday night, the Dallas Stars fell into an early hole against the Tampa Bay Lightning. But unlike the local football team, the Stars were unable to complete the comeback, falling 3-2 to the Lightning.
Tampa Bay scored three goals in less than four minutes during the first period, two of them coming off of the power play. After getting badly outclassed for 20 minutes, the Stars roared back in the second with several power play opportunities of their own, resulting in Joe Pavelski tipping a puck from John Klingberg to put Dallas on the board.
Klingberg later cut the deficit down to one by assisting a goal by Mattias Janmark in the third, but the Stars’ offense dried up shortly afterwards. The Stars finished the period with just five shots on net to the Lightning’s 12.
The series is now tied 1-1, making it effectively a best-of-five heading forward. Overall, both teams have shown why they won their respective conferences, and there’s no reason to believe either one will run away with the Stanley Cup. Then again, the last time the Stars let up three goals in a Game 2 loss they ended up winning the series in just five games...
Game 3 is on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. CT. See y’all then.
The start of the game didn’t go too well for Tampa Bay, or more specifically Nikita Kucherov. First, he was hit by Jamie Benn in what should have been a penalty, followed by getting hit with a high-stick from Mattias Janmark, which was called. The Stars killed off the power play, and not long after, Kucherov went to the dressing room after a collision with Jamie Oleksiak.
Thankfully for the Lightning, not only did Kucherov return, but the Stars got into some more penalty trouble. First, Joe Pavelski went to the box roughly 11 minutes in for tripping Anthony Cirelli, leading to a power-play goal by Brayden Point to open the scoring:
Three minutes later, Oleksiak was called for holding Tyler Johnson, and a beautiful pass from the Lightning power play led to a goal by Ondrej Palat:
And then the Stars decided to stop taking penalties, but Kevin Shattenkirk decided to make it 3-0 for Tampa Bay anyway:
With a little more than a minute left in the first, Dallas finally got their chance to strike back when Palat was called for tripping Benn. The Stars had some quality chances on net but weren’t able to make anything out it, and the Stars headed to the locker room down by three.
Shots: Tampa Bay 14, Dallas 6
Score: Tampa Bay 3, Dallas 0
Tampa Bay killed off the final 49 seconds of the Dallas power play to start the third period. Not much later, the Stars went down a man again after an interference called on Blake Comeau against Alex Killorn. Fortunately, Dallas managed to kill off all but 15 seconds of the power play, which was only cut short when Kucherov was called for tripping Jason Dickinson. Less fortunately, Dallas did absolutely nothing with the opportunity.
Soon, the referees blew yet another whistle, this time against Yanni Gourde for cross-checking Oleksiak after the Big Rig delivered a massive hit to Blake Coleman. Once more, the Stars didn’t really do much on the power play. That might surprise you given that they were behind by three goals, but remember that these are the Stars we’re talking about here — lackluster power plays are their bread and butter.
Cedric Paquette could have made it 4-0 a little more than halfway through, but he somehow hit the post. The Stars followed up with their own scoring chance, as Andrew Cogliano skated past the Lightning defense but failed to put one past Andrei Vasilevskiy on the mini-breakaway.
Dallas then had their fourth 5-on-4 of the evening as Palat was called for slashing Esa Lindell. Not as if it mattered though, as — okay, never mind, Pavelski scored five seconds in:
What followed was a flurry of failed breakaway opportunities, first by Pavelski and then from Patrick Maroon. That was followed by five players — John Klingberg, Corey Perry, Victory Hedman, and Cedric Paquette, and Maroon — heading to the box thanks to a post-whistle kerfuffle. Dallas failed to score again with their ensuing power play, with the period ending just over a minute later.
Shots: Tampa Bay 19, Dallas 24
Score: Tampa Bay 3, Dallas 1
Dallas was forced to finish the game down a forward, as Blake Comeau was ruled out for the rest of the game and did not return after the second intermission. That didn’t sink the Stars’ ship, however, as John Klingberg began playing some of the most beautiful hockey of his career — and that’s saying something — culminating in him using Mattias Janmark’s stick as a backboard for his second primary assist of the night:
Now a one-goal game, the Stars and Lightning began trading off opportunities one after another. Halfway through the period, Mikhail Sergachev managed to put one past Anton Khudobin, but the goal was called back after Blake Coleman was blatantly offside. Soon afterwards, Jamie Benn had a chance to tie it up, but his shot sailed a bit too high.
As the clock wound down, Dallas failed to pull Khudobin for the extra skater until Tampa Bay iced the puck with just over a minute left. That time might have made the difference, as Dallas fell just short of sending the game into overtime.
Final Shots: Tampa Bay 31, Dallas 29
Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Dallas 2