As with Game 2, the Dallas Stars fell behind early to the Tampa Bay Lightning. And just like in Game 2, the Stars fired back and proceeded to dominate the puck possession battle, pulling within one goal by the end of the first period.
That’s where the similarities end, thanks to a disastrous second period that saw the Lightning outshoot Dallas 21-4, scoring as many goals in the process as the Stars had shots. Dallas managed to score one more goal in the third, and ultimately lost 5-2.
Tampa Bay jumped out to an early lead thanks to a pair of goals from Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, the latter of whom was making his first appearance this postseason (and his first NHL appearance since February 25th). Jason Dickinson soon put Dallas on the board with a shorthanded goal, and the Stars spent the rest of the first period camping in the offensive zone.
But the tables flipped in the second, as Victor Hedman quickly put the Lightning up 3-1 on the power play. Said power play apparently never ended, as the Stars didn’t manage a shot on goal for half of the period. Tampa Bay scored two more goals before the end of the period, which ultimately led Jake Oettinger to take over for Anton Khudobin to start the third.
A lucky bounce gave the Stars a second goal, but Dallas couldn’t get anything else past Andrei Vasilevskiy, leading to a 5-2 defeat.
Move onto the next one. Game 4 is on Friday at 7:00 p.m. CT.
The game began with lots of back-and-forth between the two teams, including a pair of breakaways on each side from Brayden Point and Denis Gurianov respectively. The Lightning struck first on another breakaway when Miro Heiskanen slipped up and turned it over right to Nikita Kucherov, who easily found the back of the net.
Lightning struck twice, as Steven Stamkos — in his first game back from injury — soon sniped one past Anton Khudobin.
The Stars then had a chance to cut their deficit in half when Erik Cernak went to the box for tripping Nicholas Caamano. Dallas looked crispy on their power play, but it was cut short with about 39 seconds left when Joel Kiviranta was called for interference against Anthony Cirelli. Jamie Benn almost wrapped one around Andrei Vasilevskiy during the brief 4-on-4, but wasn’t able to squeeze one past the Lightning goaltender.
Then, with about 24 seconds left in the Lightning’s ensuing power play, Dickinson forced a turnover as Tampa Bay tried to exit their own zone. Roope Hintz got the puck and failed to score, but corralled the puck and sent it back to Dickinson, who got the shorthanded goal:
That goal reignited the Stars, who began to mount a ton of pressure on Vasilevskiy. The Stars spent the rest of the period mostly in the offensive zone, but weren’t able to get a second goal on the board. With about 22 seconds left, Alexander Radulov headed to the penalty box after Blake Coleman got away with grabbing Radulov’s stick and faking a hooking. Nothing much happened afterwards, and Dallas headed into the second period still on the penalty kill.
Score: Dallas 1, Tampa Bay 2
Shots: Dallas 16, Tampa Bay 8
Stamkos did not return to the bench to begin the second period — although he did return later — but Tampa Bay didn’t miss a beat. Less than a minute in, Hedman re-extended Tampa Bay’s lead with a cannon of a power-play goal:
A few minutes later, Radulov headed to the box again for hooking (deservedly, this time). The Stars managed to kill this one, but the Lightning continued to dominate offensive possession without so much as a shot on goal for the first 10 minutes. Their only real scoring opportunity was when a bad bounce led to Benn with a wide-open net, but it was blocked up front by Brayden Point.
With about eight minutes remaining, the Lightning caught the Stars on a bad change and got a 3-on-1 opportunity, which led to an easy goal from Point:
Shortly afterwards, Yanni Gourde was called for interference, putting Dallas back on the power play. Tyler Seguin had a Grade-A opportunity up front early on but couldn’t find the back of the net, and Dallas ultimately failed to score on the power play. With about a minute left, Ondrej Palat made it five goals for Tampa Bay:
That was it for a truly awful, awful second period.
Score: Dallas 1, Tampa Bay 5
Shots: Dallas 20, Tampa Bay 29
Anton Khudobin was on the bench for the rest of the game, as Jake Oettinger took his place to start the final frame. A few minutes in, Mattias Janmark and Palat took a pair of roughing minors, resulting in two minutes of 4-on-4. Not even a minute later, Benn and Jan Rutta earned a pair of 10-minute misconducts, for some reason.
Regardless, not much happened for the next several minutes until the Stars caught a lucky break — a loose puck bounced past Vasilevsky to give Dallas their second goal of the evening, which was eventually awarded to Miro Heiskanen:
Kevin Shattenkirk soon went to the box for slashing Joel Kiviranta, but Dallas failed to score on the ensuing power play. To make matters worse, Alexander Radulov headed to the penalty box after attempting to land a hit on Blake Coleman. Dallas then got another 5-on-4 when Mikhail Sergachev tripped Hintz, but that also didn’t lead to anything.
Towards the end of the period, Joe Pavelski, Jason Dickinson, Cedric Paquette, and Barclay Goodrow took roughing minors in a kerfuffle, while Pavelski earned an additional cross-checking penalty to put Tampa Bay on the power play to end the game. Denis Gurianov then headed to the locker room early when a stray puck hit him in the face while he was on the bench, because it was just that kind of night.
Final Score: Dallas 2, Tampa Bay 5
Final Shots: Dallas 32, Tampa Bay 24