|Record||Goaltender||GAA / SV%|
|Dallas Stars||13-7-0||Anton Khudobin||3.10 / .903|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||13-4-1||Andrei Vasilevskiy||2.03 / .931|
TLDR: Three goals from Tampa in the First Period, including two PPG’s and four killed penalties, give the Bolts the momentum they needed to take down the Stars in a 3-2 series-tying defeat.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to even up their series against the Stars after dropping Game 1 by a score of 4-1. Tampa’s top-ranked offense was incapable of solving Dallas goaltender Anton Khudobin, who at 5’11” stood far taller than his height would suggest. The Bolts were still without Steven Stamkos (DTD), and 11 of 18 on the roster ended with negative ratings in Game 1. Jan Rutta and Carter Verhaeghe drew in, and Zach Bogosian and Luke Schenn came out. Conversely, Roope Hintz, who was considered a game-time decision, took to the ice for Dallas warmups.
With 106 hits thrown in Game 1, it was safe to assume that Game 2 would see similar physicality. In Game 2 vs Vegas, Jamie Benn threw an explosive hit on Ryan Reaves that set a precedent for the remainder of the series. Early on, Jan Rutta, who hasn’t played since early August nearly tipped the puck into his own net due to a misplay from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning received the first power play of the evening, as Mattias Janmark was called for high-sticking, but the Stars successfully killed off the penalty. On a three-on-one attack from the Stars, Jamie Oleksiak nearly scored to put up his 2nd goal in as many games. Nikita Kucherov took a tumble during the play, and headed off to the locker room for evaluation.
Kucherov, however did return to the bench shortly thereafter. Joe Pavelski was then called for tripping against Anthony Cirelli, so Tampa was gifted another power play opportunity. This time, the Bolts were able to convert as Brayden Point made it 1-0 with 8:37 remaining in the first.
Prior to tonight, the Lightning had failed to score first in six straight games. Moments later, the Stars were called for their third minor of the period, this time a questionable holding penalty against Jamie Oleksiak. On the Bolts power play, Ondrej Palat gave his team a 2-0 lead at the 14:22 mark.
Game 2 began to unravel for Dallas after a turnover by the Stars ended up behind Khudobin, and Kevin Shattenkirk made it 3-0 Lightning less than 60 seconds after Palat’s goal.
The Dallas Stars finally received their first power play with just over a minute left in the first period. Palat went off for interference, and so with the man-advantage, Dallas hoped to cut into the Bolts lead. The Lightning led 3-0 heading into the second period, but the Stars will start the middle frame on the power play.
The Stars did not convert on the remainder of their power play, and shortly thereafter Blake Comeau was called for interferences. Tampa’s fourth power play of the evening. With Tampa on the man-advantage, Nikita Kucherov was called for tripping and so play resumed as 4-on-4 momentarily, and then as a Stars power play. Dallas received another opportunity as Yanni Gourde was called for cross-checking, and if there was a time they needed to score, it was now. Much to the dismay of Stars fans, the score remained 3-0, Bolts. With 5:22 remaining, Palat went off for slashing, and seconds into the man-advantage, off the faceoff, Joe Pavelski broke the ice for the Stars to make it 3-1.
These playoffs have favored the underdog, so it would only make sense for the tides to turn once again. A scrum ensued after Blake Comeau was taken down, and Pat Maroon interfered heavily with Khudobin. For Dallas, John Klingberg and Corey Perry went off for roughing, and for Tampa, Victor Hedman, Pat Maroon, and Cedric Paquette all for roughing as well. Dallas got a power play after everything was settled, but did not convert. Still trailing by two, the Stars outshot the Bolts 18-5 in the second period.
Dallas’ Blake Comeau did not return to his teams’ respective bench to start the third period and was deemed unfit to play after taking a hit in Period 2.
Although they trailed, the Stars have come back in the third period to win three other games this post-season. A backdoor feed from John Klingberg to Mattias Janmark diminished Tampa’s lead to just one goal, as Dallas made it 3-2 just five and a half minutes into the final frame.
However, with 10:46 remaining, the Lightning extended that lead once again as Mikhail Sergachev made it 4-2. The Stars successfully challenged the goal for offsides, thus erasing Sergachev’s goal. With the clock ticking down to the final five minutes and shots on goal even at 27 per team, Tampa seemed to be the likely victor. Anton Khudobin attempted to vacate the Dallas net for the extra attacker, but Tampa continually smothered the Stars every time they tried to enter their offensive zone. The Tampa Bay Lightning would take Game 2 to even the series at one game a-piece.
TXHT’s Three Takeaways of the Game
- The Stars special teams need improvement; the power play, and the penalty kill.
- Without Blake Comeau, Dallas will need to adopt a next-man-up mentality, just as the Lightning have done without Stamkos.
- Both teams deserve to win the Cup, and neither deserves it more than the other.
Below is the schedule for the Stanley Cup Final series between the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Wednesday September 23, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST
Friday September 25, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST
Saturday September 26, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST
Monday September 28, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST
Wednesday September 30, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST