The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from bringing the Stanley Cup back to Tampa.
The Lightning put the Dallas Stars on the brink of elimination with a 5-4 overtime win and now lead the series three games to one.
This was the best game of the cup final. The Lightning trailed early 2-0 came back and tied it up. Went down 3-2. Battled back to tie it at three.
The Lightning took a 4-3 lead in the third period on a goal by Alex Killorn before Joe Pavelski tied it at four.
Braydon Point had two goals to lead the Lightning attack. No goal was bigger than the one Kevin Shattenkirk put past Khudobin at 6:34 of overtime to give the Lightning the 5-4 win.
This game was not without controversy. Corey Perry was called for a holding called on Braydon Point as his stick went up real high between the legs of Point.
Point fell to the ice and was called for embellishment. That did not sit well with Jon Cooper who had a few choice words for the officiating crew.
The Stars had a chance to put the Lightning away in overtime early as Mikhail Sergachev went off for holding at the 34-second mark of overtime.
The Lightning penalty kill has been sensational in this cup final and was able to keep the Stars off the scoreboard.
Jamie Benn was called for tripping Tyler Johnson, and that proved to be the big controversial call of the game.
You could ask 50 people and get 50 different answers as to whether that was a penalty or not. It depends on what color jersey you are rooting for.
You always hate to see a game end on a penalty like that, but as Rick Bowness said, they had their chance early in overtime and didn’t convert.
Although he allowed four goals, Andrei Vasilevskiy was again outstanding as he made two incredible saves. The most important one in the third period on a Joe Pavelski shot that would have given the Stars a 4-2 lead.
This is a team that has played with a chip on their shoulder all season long, and are one win away from proving all the doubters and naysayers wrong.
Kevin Shattenkirk after the game said that last season’s early exit was a motivating factor last off-season and through this season.
“I’ll never forget what happened last summer. I used that to fuel me and not get comfortable. We’ve still got a job to do, and we’re not finished. Any way I can contribute, whether it’s scoring goals or playing solid defense, that’s what I aim to do every night. It’s been a great team effort so far.”
The one key for the Lightning this playoff run has been their ability to bounce back and not go away from the game plan when they get behind in a game. That has been proved time and time again
“We stay in the present and don’t worry about that happening. It’s staying even keel” Said Alex Killorn.
Cooper said the locker room was unusually quiet after a win. The Lightning knowing that it takes 16 wins to host the cup, and they have 15 and need one more.
This next one will be the hardest of all.
The Lightning missing their captain Steven Stamkos as he was deemed unfit to play.
The Lightning started quick and outplayed the Stars the first 30 minutes of the game.
The Lightning outshot the Stars 8-3 in the first period, yet Dallas had a 2-1 lead after one.
They shots advantage were 15-14 Lightning in the second period as the Stars started making their push halfway through the period.
The Lightning finished with a 35-30 shots advantage for the game.
The Stars will throw everything they have at the Lightning tonight. It’s win tonight, or go home for Dallas.
I predicted the Lightning in seven at the beginning of the series. I’m going to amend that. The Lightning will win it tonight and bring the Stanley Cup back to Tampa.